Worried about a lady in my Parish

Dear Friends,

I am quite concerned about a “Catholic” lady in my Parish who has left the Catholic Church, she left because Father could not give Communion to her non Catholic Companion and then when she started to “steal” the Host by not receiving her own Communion (or break it in half) and give it to him, a number of the Eucharistic Ministers noticed this and were very concerned and Father spoke to the lady. She continued to do it despite Father speaking to her and then he had to have a serious talk with her and she argued with him and stormed out of the Church.

The reason why I tell you this brothers and sisters is because today this lady approached me in the street and at first was very civil to me but then told me she was now going to the Church of England, she said that it was a Catholic Mass and that she was receiving the Sacraments there from the lady Vicar (this is a grave error), I was being very kind to this lady because I have known her for a long time and didn’t want her to think I was being cruel because she is very sensitive so I didn’t want to come out with “NO IT IS NOT, THAT IS HERETICAL” or anything like that, I told her that she was always welcome to come back (of course she would have to repent of her actions and do something about it) but she said she would never ever return to the Catholic Church and began to criticize quite strongly saying nobody in the Church even cared that she had left because nobody bothered with her or noticed she had gone and called us all Judases and said I was a Judas etc. I am not sure how to react to that I was tempted to tell the woman how wrong she was but reprimanding her was not the thing to do at that particular moment I think.

I am going to pray a Rosary for her but what would you advise. I write this with genuine concern for the lady, should I write to her and tell her that it is a grave error what she is doing and tell her that we do care about her and that we want to welcome her back to the Church and very nicely tell her to do so or do I point blank tell her there is no way she is getting the Sacraments there…I know I can pray for her whatever but what would you do?

Just pray for her.

Leave it in the hands of God, and your priest. If you must say something, speak to him rather than her, and tell him you’re very worried about the state of her soul, and leave it with him, and continue to pray for her.

The fear I always have in these situations, is that I would end up rubbing salt into the wound and drive her even further away, and I would be held to account to God for that on judgement day.

It is none of your business.

Best wishes,

There is really nothing you can do beyond praying for her, avoiding unnecessary conflict, and perhaps noting you don’t feel the way she does.

The difficulty here is an inability to obey, repeatedly exhibited over a period, extending to desecration of the Eucharist, even after a godly admonition.

That means it is unlikely in the extreme that anything you say or do will improve matters.

Unfortunately this sort of behavior is not uncommon, as seeing “pro-choice” bumper stickers on cars at church for Sunday Mass illustrates every week.


Praying to the Holy Spirit to give her guidance & direction back to the Church.

It sounds like this woman is confused and hurt. The last thing she needs to hear from you is that she has done something wrong. Pray for her. If you see her you might tell her that you miss seeing her at Mass and encourage her to come back. But leave any instruction that’s needed to the priest.

How do you know these things? You didn’t say this lady was a friend. This may not even be the whole truth. Gossip does get twisted.

Thanks everyone. I will pray for her, I come a very close knit Parish Community and every is so close and friendly so I just had a genuine concern for her and will pray for her- I hope she will come back and we will welcome her, some people do wrong and are confused but God still loves them and always has his arms open for them.

I would do what I have done for people going to a “Catholic” church…although this one was being started by a former Catholic priest…ok he is a priest forever but was acting outside his authority after a rift with the Bishop.

I was polite and told them that if they wanted to leave the Catholic Church, then that was up to them but I wanted to be sure that they were fully informed that it was not a Catholic church. Tell this lady that you are concerned for her, that if she wants to leave then that is her decision but you want to inform her that what she described is NOT a valid sacrament. Then tell her that you will leave it at that but if she ever wants to come back then she is always welcome to…through reconciliation. Then she is fully informed…

She is already fully informed; not only is she fully informed, but she is also thoroughly informed. It is time to butt out.

She has made her position abundantly clear; the priest made the issue abundantly clear. She does not need lay persons attempting to give her advise.

What she needs is prayer.

Keep in mind also that some people, to put it in the vernacular, have one or more screws loose or synapses that are not firing in the right order. That is perhaps a bit of a crass explanation, but there are people who seem to have some form of mental disturbance or mental impairment; not one that prohibits them from generally living in the world, but one that prevents them from making clear, rational decisions. All of the logic and carefully laid out statements are simply not going to have an effect, as there is an impairment at work that interferes with an appropriate response. Some of the comments you have made sound as if this is not some cold, calculating decision, but one rather that is made without reference to, and in spite of, guidance from her priest explaining and directing her. Her response to you also seems to indicate someone who is not completely grounded in reality.

God is a merciful God, and we need to allow God to deal with her. If she is impaired, then moral culpability may be reduced or not exist. Keep her in prayers, and stay out of the issue. If she wants your advice she will let you know; if she doesn’t, then you are not going to make things better by talking to, or at her.

No, I am not a psychologist, but in my work I have had to work with a number of people who seem to be on a bit of a paralell existence. They don’t fit within what most people consider “crazy”, but they simply cannot take in information and process it. Your comments seem to indicate that she fits within that group.

Ok…I’m going to ignore the "butt out " remark.

Perhaps you missed the part where she said she was going to the Church of England and said it was a Catholic Mass or the part where she said she was receiving the Sacraments from a lady Vicar? So I am trying to figure out how she is “fully informed”. Nowhere in the OP’s post did I see where anyone has explained to her that what she thinks is true is not. Maybe she actually doesn’t know?

Isn’t it one of the Spirituals Works of Mercy to instruct the ignorant?

Having said that…prayer is always a good thing and never wrong either.



Perhaps we are reading different threads.

I understood the OP to say that the priest had instructed her once, if not twice; and the OP approached her.

Her reaction is beyond plain old everyday ignorance. Assuming that she has all her faculties about her, she is then willfully rejecting the Church and its authority over the sacraments.

And from the second hand information I have about her behavior, it would appear that it may be less than totally willful…

In my past jobs, I have dealt with people who seem to be in their own world, one that is disconnected from the real one; and it has been my experience that whatever the root issue is, talking to them is akin to addressing a brick wall; neither seem to compute the information provided. So I maintain my position; it is time for the OP to not waste further efforts as she either clearly does not want to be instructed, or the instructions simply don’t compute; which is to say, it goes in as meaningless verbiage.

OK, I went back and re-read the first post. The priest spoke to her at least twice, if not three times.

The OP approached her (apparently in a friendly, non-didactic way and was called a Judas (at which point it appears that the woman was on a rant).

Ignorant? No, more like obstinate. As in, “You are talking to the hand, 'cuz the head’s not listening”.

If I approached someone in an open friendly manner, not lecturing, and they turned on me that way, I would move on, butt out, break it off, call it what you want. They have indicated to me they don’t want to hear anything I have to say - calling me a Judas pretty well nails it for me. I have better things to do than submit to abuse - and I call her behavior abusive. She is either on a war path - at which point I can’t help her; or she is a bit disconnected (as in , engaging in somewhat irrational behavior) - at which point, considering that I am not a professional, I can’t help her.

I can pray for her. And that is about it. Been there, done that, have the t shirt - and it is now so old it is moth-eaten.

I think you and I have a difference of opinion on what the OP was. I too went back and re-read it. To me–it appears that the priest was talking to her about the communion issue. That is not what I am talking about or suggesting that the OP “instruct the ignorant” about. It’s the issue of going to the Church of England thinking it is a Catholic Mass and thinking that one is receiving the Sacraments from a lady vicar. Look, I’m not saying that this lady will listen but I think it is imperative for the OP to instruct her in a kindly manner.

Reading these posts I was reminded of the first reading on Sept 7th

Ezekiel 33:7-9
“Thus says the LORD: You, son of man, I have appointed watchman for the house of Israel; when you hear me say anything, you shall warn them for me. If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, and he refuses to turn from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.”

I know it’s not easy. And I’m not saying that the OP should try to make sure that she stops. But I stand by what I said…inform her in a kindly way…and then leave it at that. Pray for her after that. If she continues in her ways…the OP is not responsible for that.

I myself had mixed results when I have done this (not that I am always doing what I should–because yes…it is difficult and not everyone is going to thank you.) I had those that un-friended me, called me names, etc…including the priest that was leaving the Catholic Church. But I had another friend that thanked me because they had absolutely no idea that it wasn’t truly a Catholic Church or that the Sacraments might be valid (because they were administered by a former Catholic priest) but illicit.

So…I still stand by what I said. Being Catholic is not always going to be easy. Christ virtually promised us that.

I don’t believe in taking the easy way - but I do try to take the productive way. I do not say you are wrong, but I stand by my suggestion to the OP - leave her alone, and pray. If the Holy Spirit opens an opportunity, take it; but don’t try to tell the Holy spirit how to do the job.

I respect your opinion on it, but there is no need to be insulting. I don’t think my suggestion is telling the Holy Spirit how to do the job.

Those are two valid options for the advise that the OP asked. Only the OP can answer what they believe the Holy Spirit is calling them to…no?

I apologize if I offended you. I have a nasty cold, and the last comment was not directed to you -I intended it for the OP.

People leave the Church everyday and it could all be a part of your Gods plan for all you know.

I left years ago, the sun rose the next day and everyday since.

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