Would it be wrong to go up in a communion line to get blessed at a Protestant service?

Okay, so a family member of mine recently passed. The Funeral is coming up and since most of my extended family is Lutheran, it will be at an ELCA church. I’m wondering if as a Catholic, should I go up in the communion line and get a blessing out of respect for my family from the pastor at this service? I remember at my father’s funeral, a few of them went and got a blessing from our priest and I feel it would be a way to show solidarity in our family. However, I don’t want to cause misunderstanding or scandal among outsiders (the family member was a former Catholic, so I assume some of his relatives are still Catholic).

First, I don’t think that giving a blessing like that is a Lutheran custom, so it may actually cause confusion.

Second, since Lutherans who do have a concept of Christ in the eucharist believe that He is there because of the faith of the recipient, then it would just be bread if you don’t receive.

Third, receiving the blessing in a Catholic Church is not done to “show respect” but an act of spiritual Communion–that is “I cannot receive You at this time, but at least come to me spiritually”.

That said, I don’t think it is a good idea. You can show your respect in other ways, such as praying a rosary for the departed and praying for their soul in purgatory. These can be done in private so as not to do your good deeds for show (I’m not accusing you of this BTW).

Sorry for your loss, may their memory be eternal!

To what end? No blessing would occur - the minister is a layman. Just stay in your place. You don’t have to make a scene, however.

You should not go up.

Thanks, I don’t think I will. I just was wondering

I wouldn’t.

I wouldn’t go up. I think it would cause more questions rather than fewer. Simply step out of the pew to let everyone else out just as you would at a Mass when you aren’t receiving.

I will pray for the repose of your relative’s soul.

Dear Benjamine,

At first I was hesitated in responding but it was nagging at me.
About 4 years ago it was a Protestant Church turn to host The World Day of Prayer service. Presbyterians, Anglicans, Catholics all celebrating and praying as one.
Fr. went up along with the rest of us for a blessing, my friend and I were so humbled at Fr. For his own humility. Really we should not have been as we accept that an ordained Pastor (most) has the authority to baptize and marry. In this context would it not be valid for this Pastor to bless you? It is hard to know the holiness and devoutness of this Pastor, or even our own. Yet we know the blessing comes from God through the Pastor.

Could you make a quick call to your own Pastor for confimation? At a funeral emotions are very high and sensitive and it is good and mature that your concience asks of you about scandel.

It isn’t a Catholic custom either. It was introduced by well-meaning priests to avoid hurt feelings by those unable to receive Communion, but was not the intention of the Church. Everyone receives a blessing at the end of Mass.

Those present at Mass who want to make a spiritual Communion traditionally do it on their knees in their pew.

That’s not correct - Lutherans believe in the True Body and True Blood of christ. Christ is present regardless of the faith of the recipient: “Take this and eat it: it is my body.”

My synod does not allow others to receive so they don’t accidentally “drink judgement upon [themselves].” We also ask that you conform to our our creeds and confessions before coming to the alter rail.

The ELCA can have very orthodox churches - so if you decide to go up for a blessing, I would talk to the pastor first just to make sure they did that, as it’s not a universal custom.

I wouldn’t receive the blessing unless it would be a major faux pas. I wouldn’t receive “Communion” even if it would be a major faux pas.

Well I definitely wouldn’t receive communion. That I know would be wrong. Also my extended family understand’s that

Any person can baptise (technically speaking) as an extraordinary minister of the sacrament… which is why protestant ministers can baptise.

As to marriage, the ordinary minister of the sacrament are the participants themselves (the husband and wife). The minister serves in the role of a witness from the church, which is required for Catholics getting married, but not for non-catholics. In other words, the pastor doesn’t have powers of ordination beyond that of any layperson because they are not validly ordained in the eyes of the church.

In this context would it not be valid for this Pastor to bless you? It is hard to know the holiness and devoutness of this Pastor, or even our own. Yet we know the blessing comes from God through the Pastor.

That is untrue. Any layperson can ASK that God blesses somebody. In the catholic church, however, we know that our priests are given authority as Christ tells His ministry that “He who hears you, hears Me” and that whatever they “bind on earth will be bound in heaven”. The Catholic Priest, and ONLY the catholic priest can say “I give you the blessing of God” and allow us to be assured that God has indeed and without doubt blessed us in accordance with His words to His church.

In other words, only a validly ordained priest has the authority to GIVE blessings. All the rest of us, including invalidly ordained ministers, only have the authority to ASK for blessings and HOPE that they come along.

Could you make a quick call to your own Pastor for confimation? At a funeral emotions are very high and sensitive and it is good and mature that your concience asks of you about scandel.

This is not necessary. We are not to make a scandal by any form of participation at protestant worship services. We are allowed to attend ONLY as observers to avoid giving the perception that we validate their opinions or hold them as our own. Furthermore, since we DON’T believe in their rites or creeds, it would be absolutely disrespectful to pretend that we do and to receive them as though they are only hollow gestures and we don’t care.

We honor the sincerity with which protestants practice their faith by behaving as respectful observers ONLY.

So Fr. John was scandalizing himself?

The scandal would be created for you, whereby you assumed that because he did it that it was correct for him (and by extension, any believer) to have done so.

We are, simply put, instructed by the church that our participation in any other forms of worship (other than those available to the laity) are limited strictly to that of a “respectful observer”. This includes any protestant form of communion, blessings, etc. Praying with a protestant is another issue, because prayer is a form of worship open to all laity. If the priest’s actions led you to believe anything other than this, then that was incorrect of him.

Well said!:thumbsup:

Thank you for this.
I do feel badly as I told many people and now they believe what I believed. Now I will pray that those I mislead will have the truth come out. Also, I could have misguided other people on this fourm with other observations I have made about the actions of our Religious. Oh no.

Was my Pastor scandalizing when he went up to receive communion from the Anglican Primate of Canada? I believe he was, because his actions caused some women who hadn’t been going to receive to change their minds when they saw him do so. He caused them to do something that the Church forbids.

Fan of Francis,

Try not to worry about it too much. If the worst that happens is that some people mistakenly go to receive blessings from those who can’t offer them, then that’s really not the most terrible thing in the world. It’s not like YOU knew any better along the way, so it’s not like you could be blamed for the assumption that your pastor was doing what was acceptable always (and it’s possible that your pastor was merely acting off of an example given to HIM).

If you’re really bothered, just say a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit that He should spread understanding of church teaching and practice to all Catholics! Then trust God, because the word on the streets is that He’s pretty powerful and can take care of His own… :stuck_out_tongue:

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