What to do?


This is a two part issue -

My mom is a former Catholic and now is a Christian of the non-denominational rapture-believing flavor. She came to the Easter Vigil this year and received communion. I will start training to be an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion soon and was wondering what a minister would do if someone who is not Catholic goes up to receive. In other words, if I become a minister of Holy Communion and my mom were to come up to me expecting to receive, what should I do?

The second part is that my mom told me that her church teaches the bread and wine really are the body and blood of our Lord and not a symbol. I was perplexed upon hearing this because it is my understanding that Protestants don’t subscribe to this belief. I wanted to reply to her that what she receives once a month at her church cannot be truly the body and blood because they don’t have a valid priesthood, but I didn’t want to open another can of worms. It’s hard to discuss things with her sometimes because of her strong anti-Catholic sentiments.

Greetings, Petrologist!

First of all, thank you. Thank you for calling it what it is - Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

I am not sure. I believe you should ask your pastor about this.

Here I think a charitable confrontation is in order. To me, it just seems rude, disrespectful, and unacceptably arrogant to go into another person’s house and then start telling how it is going to be. If she is going to walk into a Catholic church - as she is welcome to do - then she should be willing to play by Catholic rules. She should walk in as a guest, and not as a master. If not, then she should not walk in at all. I also think it a good idea to alert your pastor to this scenario.


Some protestant denominations believe in consubstantiation, which is fundamentally different from transubstantiation. Could she be confusing the two?

I’m not sure, but I told her, “As Catholics, we believe that the bread and wine at Mass actually become the body and blood of Jesus upon consecration.” She replied, “Yeah, I know.” And then I reiterated what I said to be sure that she understood the severity of what I was saying and she replied, “Yes, that’s what we [her church] believes also.”

What also bothered me was that during the prayers of the faithful during the Good Friday liturgy specifically where we pray for the intentions of our Holy Father, she didn’t respond with an Amen. I can understand her not submitting to the authority of the Pope, but the fundamental idea of not praying for someone was rather offensive to me. I know that if I were in her church and they prayed for the intentions of her pastor, I would include my prayer. Why not pray for the intentions of an honest God-seeking person? And also, during the Our Father - I know it’s not required to hold hands during this prayer, but she purposely chooses not to hold hands or say the prayer. This is why I sharply question why she or anyone who holds her sentiments for that matter, feel like they have a right to receive Communion in the Catholic Church. And the thing that makes it so hard is because she’s my mama. I love her to death and I have trouble bringing myself to rebuking her… even if I know that I’m right, I’ll always let her have the upper hand cuz she’s my mama.

I’m sure this is an old topic, but I would love to hear some words of wisdom.

First off, I wouldn’t confuse anything I’m about to say for wisdom, but…

I’ve always been taught that Mass is open for all, and that as long as you’re not disruptive, all are welcome. This means that anyone can show up and sit through an entire Mass without speaking, singing, kneeling, standing, or even listening. I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions - many protestants that attend Mass skip prayers seemingly randomly sometimes because they want to ensure that they don’t compromise their own beliefs that are only partially in communion with the Church, so perhaps she thought saying a special prayer for the Pope went over the line. Hopefully she doesn’t hold a vendetta against the Holy Father, though.

Well, Petrologist, you are right to be in a quandry, but then maybe you are not. The1983 Code of Canon Law in Canon 844.4 states that a non-Catholic may receive Communion for grave reason or if the local ordiary deems it proper, provided that the person has a belief in the sacrament being administed, in this case Communion, and is properly exposed. The fact that this flies up against the constant teaching of othe Church before this code(it is strictly forbidden in the 1917 Code of Canon Law) should make one take notice and wonder and question. They changed something that is unchangeable and that is forbidden by scripture as well. This goes deeper than ones attending passively at Mass.
This obviously bothers you or you wouldn’t be bringing it up. Pray to Our Lady of Grace for the grace to see the wrongness of many things that are presented as being true, even from the Vatican itself. There is much to be examined and prayed over here. Email me for a fuller explaination.


As an EMHC myself, we are taught that we are to NEVER deny anyone the Sacrament. With the sole exception being that if the priest right then and there instructs us to.

If she came up to receive, you would say either “The Blood of Christ” or “The Body of Christ” as with any other communicant. We in no way have the authority to assess the worthiness of any particular soul. And in fact, it’s not our job and something we shouldn’t be doing. Way to many doors to bad things would be opened that way.

The fact that you know your mother is committing any particular grave sin (which may or may not be mortal for her depending on if the three conditions are met) and receiving Holy Communion is between her and God and the Church. If you feel that something needs to be said to any particular person, that’s the job of the priest. And that time is usually not at Communion time. It’s almost always best to distribute Communion and inform the priest afterwards.

Now in the particular case of your mother (as opposed to someone you don’t know), I would politely and respectfully inform her of Catholic teaching. After that, it’s between her and God.

Our priest gives a little statement before Communion on Christmas and Easter. Basically, he states that the Eucharist is not only the Body of Christ, but receiving Him is a demonstration of communion with the Church. This is partially why some of the famous politicians have been denied reception of the Eucharist. Only God can judge their consciences, however, they publicly support things that the Church teaches are wrong. What they support is openly against the church, so they cannot be in communion with the Church. If you are not in communion with the church, you can not receive communion.

If you know that your mother is going to the Catholic church, you might inform the priest who is celebrating the mass about your mother’s situation. Then it will be on his shoulders to deny her the Eucharist.

If you become an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister, you should tell your before hand that you can not give her communion.

to answer your questions no you shouldn’t and yes you should tell her. your mom shouldn’t have received communion at easter vigil. if she is totally against the catholic church then she can’t receive because she is not in full communion with us. If she still wants to take communion at her church she can but shes only getting old bread and lousy wine.

You mentioned that your mother is a “former” Catholic. Perhaps she has wrongly assumed certain beliefs about the faith community she has joined. I suggest you look it up on the Internet, then show your mother what her denomination believes about the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

In the missalettes my parish uses, there is an explanation about who can receive Holy Communion. If that’s in the missalettes your parish uses, take a copy and show it to your mother. Tell her she is eagerly welcome to attend Mass, but ask her to please be respectful about what the Catholic Church teaches about this most holy sacrament. The congregation receiving together is a sign of our unity of faith. Those who are in a state of mortal sin, and those who do not accept the teachings of the Catholic Church, are not in communion, and are asked not to receive.

There are a few Protestant denominations which have varying beliefs about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They are different from what Catholics believe (that Jesus is present in body, blood, soul and divinity). This is from Wikipedia:

Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians see the Real Presence in terms not of a physical or “carnal” presence, but of transubstantiation/metousiosis.[1] Anglicans argue for contentment with the mode of objective presence to remain a mystery. Lutherans expound a presence “in, with and under the forms” of bread and wine. Methodists postulate the par excellence presence as being a “Holy Mystery.” Reformed Protestant views instead speak of a “spiritual” real presence and stress that Holy Communion is a “spiritual feeding.” Certain other Protestant traditions (for instance, Baptists and contemporary evangelicals) simply reject outright the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.


Hi Joe,

The canon actually says:

§4. If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

So, it would be very hard to see how Petrologist’s mother would fulfill each condition. Anyway, Petrologist, you should talk to the pastor and/or the bishop. You aren’t expected, or qualified, to make this determination.


Do you realize what you are saying? From your statement it appears that you are saying that the new Code of Canon Law supports heretical behaviors. :confused:

Only the Lutherans, no?

Is it possible that she was trying to walk over the bridge half-way to you?
Do you think maybe that knowing how important this is to you [who are an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion] that she tried her best to overcome her beliefs and to “share common ground” with her daughter? :tiphat:
If she simply abstains from speaking, without being outspokenly offensive, I don’t find any fault with her… if maybe she comes from a belief that our beloved Pope is an “anti-______” *, then it would follow that she could not sincerely pray for that person, very understandable!
Can we ask her to be dishonest when she is trying her best to pray to God the way she is able to?

Please, don’t take me wrong, but I would have been in tears thanking God that my mom [not being a Catholic now] is sitting next to me in Mass AND during Easter Vigil! wow! :extrahappy: I wouldn’t have been able to notice anything she did wrong, frankly!

For any questions as to how to proceed when someone isn’t Catholic approaches Communion, refer to your pastor…but personally, instead of denying them the Host, I would ask them “do you agree with everything that the Catholic Church proclaims and are willing to be in communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?” with a huge welcoming smile!..[they’ll probably run away!:D] Just kidding, ask your pastor…

Just a sidenote: You are NOT responsible for what SHE does, but YOU ARE responsible for what YOU do to HER…and remember the 4th Commandment! :wink: Thanks God she is still Christian and somehow prays…however she does it!:gopray:

I’m no expert, but I believe that some Anglicans believe in consubstantiation as well and that Lutherans technically believe in Sacramental Union. From what I’ve seen in my limited experience, the non-denominations have a range of beliefs and many avoid any belief and leave it to the person. I’m not sure how you can believe that transubstantiation has occurred if the person performing the event doesn’t, though.

Very well stated! :tiphat:

In that role you are serving, not judging, people…keep your heart on service mode…God is the Judge…

Dans and Cristiano,

Firstly, I understand what the OP is saying.  By posting on what the 83 Code says and conrasting it to the 1917 Code of Canon law, I wanted to demonstrate how they are diametrically opposed to one another.  The Blessed Sacrament must not be given to those who are not Catholic.  Period.  There is no end run around it.  If one has belief in the Eucharist or the Catholic understanding of another sacrament, that soul should be encouraged to ask more questions and steered towards joining the Church.  We don't give Communion to cathecumens until they are accepted into the Church by baptism, renunciation of errors, etc.  Why should non-Catholics, who don't believe everything the Church teaches get a "pass", while others who are studying and quite possibly already believe in the doctrines of the Church have to wait until their entrance into the Church, which could take months.  It is very inconsistent, to say the least.

Cristiano, yes, you have it right.  I do say the 83 Code is heretical.  Just on that point alone is enough for a Catholic to question it and cast it into the fire.  The Church cannot promulgate unjust laws or disciplines that could be harmful to the faithful, or,as in this case, a practice that would  permit the objectively sacriligeous receiving of Holy Communion by a non-Catholic.  

What has been coming from Rome since John XXIII is often not Catholic. You can say that I am out there. That would not take away from what I have presented to you above. Pray and read old, preVII moral and dogmatic manuals. Read the Encyclicals of pre-VII popes. I suggest Humani Generis of Pope Pius XII 12 August, 1950. Moratalium Animus, Pope Pius XI, Pascendi of Pope St Pius X. Pius XII’s Mystici Corporus goes against what Vatican II states about the Church. Pius XII-“The Church of Christ is the Catholic Church” Vatican II-“the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church” These two phases do not mean the same thing. Don’t take my word for it. Go to the sources and learn for yourself how these popes and others of the past have taught and spoken and what has been coming from Rome since Vatican II. You will find differences.
I recommend the book “Tumultuous Times” by the Radecki brothers. Also, for a respected Cardinals outlook on things, get a hold of a copy of “The Pope and the Antichrist” by Cardinal Manning from 1861(currently in print). It is an eyeopener.


However, the fourth commandment does not apply in this case. As much as I love my dad, if he does something against what the Church teaches, I cannot and will not condone it. God comes first and so does His True Church. If we make our relatives’ feelings more important than God, then, there are some problems.

I do not mean to sound harsh, but, Jesus, Himself, said some harsh things. He said that we cannot love mother, father, children, siblings more than Him.

Granted, the OP is not responsible for her mother’s actions, she should find some way of engaging her mother in a serious conversation. Perhaps a good starting point is this section from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians:

27 Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.

Reception of Holy Communion in the Church is not open to everyone. Catholics need to be properly disposed of in order to receive Our Lord. As Redemptionis Sacramentum notes:

[81.] The Church’s custom shows that it is necessary for each person to examine himself at depth,163 and that anyone who is conscious of grave sin should not celebrate or receive the Body of the Lord without prior sacramental confession, except for grave reason when the possibility of confession is lacking; in this case he will remember that he is bound by the obligation of making an act of perfect contrition, which includes the intention to confess as soon as possible".164

[82.] Moreover, “the Church has drawn up norms aimed at fostering the frequent and fruitful access of the faithful to the Eucharistic table and at determining the objective conditions under which Communion may not be given”.165

[83.] It is certainly best that all who are participating in the celebration of Holy Mass with the necessary dispositions should receive Communion. Nevertheless, it sometimes happens that Christ’s faithful approach the altar as a group indiscriminately. It pertains to the Pastors prudently and firmly to correct such an abuse.

[84.] Furthermore when Holy Mass is celebrated for a large crowd – for example, in large cities – care should be taken lest out of ignorance non-Catholics or even non-Christians come forward for Holy Communion, without taking into account the Church’s Magisterium in matters pertaining to doctrine and discipline. It is the duty of Pastors at an opportune moment to inform those present of the authenticity and the discipline that are strictly to be observed.

These are not easy things to say, especially to those we love. But, if we are not honest, then, we would not be doing anybody any favors by just going with the flow.


What you have written from St Paul and other statements about the reception of Communion being for those Catholics who are in a state of grace is absolutely true.
As I posted earlier, though, the 1983 Code of Canon Law promulgated by JPII and presently being used by Benedict XVI contradict this teaching(1917 Code concurs with St Paul). The Church cannot be the source of error. This is direct evidence that the 1983 Code, just based on this one canon, 844.4, is not Catholic and one cannot follow it. Furthur conclusions should be drawn from this. Don’t just listen to me. Do your own unbiased research. What I mean by that is used pre-VII sources to do comparisons. In doctrine(faith and morals) as well as disciplines in certain areas(example: in no way could the Church promote a law that does intentional harm to the Blessed Sacrament-say-I don’t like even saying it-having the priest step on one host intentionally at every Mass he says) the Church cannot err. After you do this research(encyclicals, doctrine manuals-I can suggest some reading), one will have to come to the conclusion that drastic changes have been made since VII that cannot be reconciled to what the Church has always taught.
Please pray on this and look into it.



Side note: there are some non-denoms that beleive in the true presence, just how this comes about ,they(the non-denoms) have no real theology behind thier belief other than we said so, so just beleive…


If i were in the OP’s shoes i would deny my mother the sacrement of the Eucharist.and i would do so without any guilt.

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