Thursday, May 19, 2011

IS IT RIGHT FOR PROTESTANTS TO FEEL SLIGHTED BECAUSE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH DOESN'T ALLOW THEM HOLY COMMUNION WHEN THEY VISIT?


Our bishop was in town last night to celebrate Confirmation with about 48 of our 9th graders and four adults who had missed it over the years.

It was a lovely OF "Solemn Mass." Our full choir was there, the men's schola sang the "Vidi Aquam" at the Rite of Sprinkling, we had organ, trumpet and timpani.

We used the Mass of Creation except for "Took's, Mass of the Holy Trinity" Lamb of God.

It was lovely and I had kids, young adults and old people come up to me and say how moving the Mass was especially the singing. And yes the congregational singing was outstanding, led by our fine choirs under the direction of Ms. Nelda Chapman.

I love the OF Mass when it is celebrated well, with dignity and without gimmicks or theatrics.

Then this morning I find this in my email:

Dear St. Josephs church this night of May 18, 2011 when I was attending the conformation mass I was highly pleased when I felt welcomed when the Bishop said that once baptized all religions Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, ect. are all equal in the eyes of God. This made me feel like I was as equal as the rest of the people in the church since I am Methodist. He was highly hilarious with the questions of what their favorite salad dressing was. Then when it came time for communion I went forward since I have been confirmed already at my church. How sad it made me when I was asked if I was catholic then told that I did not have the same religious rights to take communion because I was not. I was denied bread and shown that I was not equal as the Bishop had said. I just wanted to tell you that as a 15 year old boy who praises Jesus just as well as any catholic person does I felt that my religious rights had been infringed upon and I don’t agree with the fact that any child of god should be denied communion especially if they have gone through conformation. I just wanted to say that I don’t agree with the Bishop being religionist to me after he says that we are all equal he made me feel like he was hypocritical to all that he said and why should I believe another word of it. I might have understood if he would have asked everyone that went to communion if they were Catholic but no my 12 year old sister and my dad all who are not catholic got to have communion as well this made me want to leave in the middle of church and it is extremely disappointing when a religious leader can be religionist to one person in a church just because he is not catholic. My beliefs and what the Bishop said tonight we are all one under God and I just don’t understand how you can go against God and you own word and have your actions show different.

From,
A disappointed child of God


In some ways this email made me want to cry because this young 15 year old boy loves the Lord and is a practicing Christian and takes our Christian faith seriously. I am impressed that he emailed me! How many Catholic teenage boys would do that?

But therein lies the rub in our ecumenical days of dialogue. We haven't yet reached full communion with other Christians even for special occasions.

Also his point that he felt singled out in being asked if he was a Catholic (I presume he appeared to the bishop as not knowing how to receive in a Catholic Church) would have made any Protestant a bit angry when his other family members who are not Catholic were not asked and did receive Holy Communion.

At funerals and weddings, I usually say we can only invite those practicing Roman Catholics who are properly disposed to come forward and receive Holy Communion.

We did have a program for the Mass last night and I suspect I should have included a disclaimer about who can receive Holy Communion in it similar to what is found in many missalettes from the USCCB although our missalette does not contain it.

What do you think. I am impressed though with this young man's religious desire for Holy Communion and willingness to state his displeasure at what he perceived to be a slight.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fr., I don't think that is this young man's problem. He is construing something in a negotiation to elevate himself. This is more 'fundamental' problem he needs to solve before he can tackle ecumenical situations.

rcg

pinanv525 said...

I think you are taking this way too seriously. Here is another product of our PC, government school educated society who has learned at an early age to vomit the egaliatrian/victim mentality all over anyone within reach. This is what our social work oriented educational system and our leftist propaganda machine called TV has created. His Mama ought to slap him and take him home and make him clean his room.

Plus, he is a Methodist. There is no more watered-down, half-baked, feel good "theology" in existence that I am aware of. Wesley was as crazy as a chinch and the tradition has carried right on after him. God help us...and, Fr., quit feeling guilty. It doesn't become you. Send the kid over to Ignotus' Church. He still won't receive, but he will get a lot of sympathy. Ignotus may even help him compose his next smutty little letter.

qwikness said...

This comes up a lot. Folks get heated on this, feathers get really ruffled. They say, "I'm a Christian too." and "we don't exclude anybody" and "Communion is whatever the person believes in their heart." Its hard to find a charitable way to explain this. The best I can come with is: We have different beliefs. ie True Presence, etc. I tell them, our Church does not allow us to take communion at their church either. and We had to take special First Communion classes. Its unclear whether this satisfies them. So I don't think they should feel slighted but accept our disapproval

Duns Blotus said...

Maybe it's a good thing to feel slighted sometimes. Perhaps you can begin some sort of dialogue with this young man about the faith that could lead to his conversion, provided you don't get yourself fired.

I am more concerned about what the bishop said or suggested. No doubt God loves everyone from every religion. I am told that He even loves atheists. The problem is all religions are not equal. Just read Mortalium Animos. Ask St. Thomas More and the English Martyrs if they went to their deaths because all religions are equal. Well, you can't actually ask them, but you get my drift.

As a Methodist, this boy is not a member of just another Christian religion. He is a Protestant. Not to be elitist or divisive, but we have to accept that there are HUGE differences between Catholics and the other denominations and we've blurred them a lot lately in the name of unity.

I suppose the most prudent thing to do is explain to large congregations more likely to have visitors that non-Catholics are not permitted by Church law to receive Communion. That's always going to offend someone, no matter how nicely you put it. Of course it doesn't help to have the celebrant telling everyone that all religions are equal.

Maybe this feeling of being slighted might stimulate some inquiry and the longing for Communion will bring him to see that the "bread" he describes is the Body of Christ. If he hungers enough for that, good things can happen.

Anonymous said...

Pinvan, what is "smutty" about this boy's letter? Check out the word in a dictionary--it usually refers to obscenity, none of which I see in what he wrote. As a pretty traditional Catholic, I appreciate Father's concern for this child but not the ugly responses and hard-heartedness from rcg, pinvan, etc.

Mr. A. said...

Couple of things.
1) Yes, you should have the "disclaimers" about only those Christians who hold the same belief concerning the sacrament as the Roman Catholic Church may receive. In other words, only those who hold the Christians whose churches are in Communion with Rome may receive communion.

2) I would, as kindly as possible, take a moment to explain to the kid that he as a point in fact does not believe as we do. In his note, he writes "I was denied bread". Clearly, by his own admission, he does not believe as we do and he should not receive Communion as it doesn't reflect his true belief. It can be an opportunity for true, genuine ecumenism by instructing and giving the Holy Spirit an opportunity for him and perhaps his family to convert to Catholicism.

pinanv525 said...

Well, Anon, you are technically correct in your definition. However, I had the image in mind of fingerprint smudges on a "poor me" letter. As far as our "ugly" responses, some of us are just sick and tired of this "I've been injured" mentality. There are different approaches regarding how to respond to it. I have, at various stages of my life, emploted several. I now have decided that disgust is the proper one. If you feel sorry for the kid, why don't you and he get together with some other good-hearted souls and have a pity party?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who does not acknowledge the pain of divided Christianity, as expressed in this young man's sincere letter and Fr. McDonald's compassionate response, does not have the heart of Christ or His Church.

Because most other Christian denominations have an "open" communion policy (usually meaning that if a Christian receives communion in his/her church, he/she is welcome to receive in all chruches) we and the Orthodox are the "stand alone" Churches in this matter. It does cause pain, and to dismiss that pain is to exhibit a lack of Christian charity. We should all long for the day when, as is the will of Christ, we can be one at the Eucharistic meal. Until that day, dismissing the real pain that our divisions continue to cause is callous and unhelpful.

It was the priest and the Levite who passed by the man beaten on the road to Jericho. They, too, saw no reason to share the pain of the wounded man. And they were condemned.

Robert Kumpel said...

I was an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for two weeks at the San Diego State University Newman Center when I was doing some graduate work. I didn't volunteer for it, but was asked by one of the priests to do it. I attended a day-long seminar to get my official "certificate", and the instruction was insufficient and negligent, to say the least.

I was far less likely in those days to make waves, so I did as I was instructed: I was told to refuse Holy Communion to no one. Now at that Newman Center, I knew young people who were practically living together and many of them were engaged in socio-political activities that were clearly at odds with the Catholic Church. But I kept my mouth shut and denied no one.

So, the very first time I distributed Communion, the first person to come forward to receive was a young woman whom I knew was not a Catholic. I did nothing to stop her. I also felt guilty for aiding and abetting a sacrilegious Communion.

Later, I had a long conversation with her. I told her all about how Church law forbids non-Catholics from receiving Holy Communion and what the differences were in Protestant and Catholic beliefs about the Eucharist. I could not reach her. She kept repeating either, "That's unfair" or "That's wrong".

Exasperated, I finally said, "If you were a guest in someone's home, wouldn't you owe it to them out of common courtesy to abide by their house's rules?" I still don't know why, but that got through to her. In fact, she started crying, expressing genuine regret that she had been "impolite" to the Church that welcomed her as a guest. She kept coming to Mass, but stopped receiving Holy Communion--that is, until she converted and became a Catholic.

I stopped doing something too. I stopped distributing Holy Communion. Every other person there was an Extraordinary minister, so they certainly didn't need me. I didn't like the way it was done and I felt ridiculous in my highly unnecessary role.

Marc said...

I think some of you are misunderstanding what Christian charity is. For example, Anonymous says, "It does cause pain, and to dismiss that pain is to exhibit a lack of Christian charity."

Actually, the highest form of Christian charity (in terms of ecumenism) is attempting to help someone who is outside the Church to enter the Church so that they can participate in the Sacraments and inherit eternal life. Remember, the Church teaches that there is no salvation outside the Church, just as the Church has always taught.

Here's the bottom line: we (especially bishops and priests) have a duty to tell people that if they do not renounce their heretical views and convert to Catholicism, they are likely to go to hell. Bishops and priests, as well as lay people, have to do that in a delicate way because that is a hard message. But, that doesn't change the fact that it is true.

Years of watered-down ecumenism has led the young man in question here to not even know that the Catholic church views herself differently than she views Methodists... I suspect that is ultimately due to the loss of Catholic identity in that most Catholics probably do not view the Catholic church as particularly different than Protestant churches.

Anonymous said...

You may need to explain to him that Catholics we believe in Transubstantiation. And emphasize that we believe that it is Truly God and NOT, NOT, NOT a symbol. at all, in any part.
Do you believe that? IF no then that's why. if yes tell him about RCIA.

pinanv525 said...

Anonymous, Causes pain? Please...I don't think we can glorify as "pain" what people like this kid feel. Seriously, how many out there are theologically and Church history educated enough, not to mention spiritually sensitive enough...that's spiritually sensitive, you know like St. Francis and St.Teresa...to feel real pain over the divisions in the Church? No, this kid has been trained by our culture and egalitarian educational system to have a knee-jerk reaction to any perceived inequity. He's pouting.

Now, lest you cast me into the fire with the Priest and the Levite, if I were talking to the kid in person I would not deal with him dismissively like I do Ignotus and a few others. They are adults, nominally Catholic, and can take it. Fragile people do not engage in contrarian, antagonistic behavior, even if they pretend to be fragile when you disagree with them. Perhaps the kid could be led to understand the logic and theology behind the exclusivity of Catholic Communion...or not. My guess is he would either continue to whine about the meanness and bigotry of the Church or run on to find another egalitarian windmill to attack. How unfortunate this kid will one day vote.

R. E. Ality said...

To Duns Blotus and Anonymous May 19, 2011 9:00: The Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus founded. I don’t think it’s proper to call it a denomination or imply that it is by referring to “other denominations. We are not one among equals.
It’s been too long ago that I took Latin in high school, but my reasoning tells me that the 30,000 plus splintered meaning name. The Catholic Church is the Christian Church and the Protestant split offs are “de” from THE CHURCH. Pinan, my Latin classes were an awful long time ago and I only had two years, so set me straight if I am wrong. I can take it.
Not meaning to imply that others don’t know this, but the Eucharist is the very source and summit of our Catholic faith, of our unity of faith, and only those in full communion with the Catholic Church are entitled to receive this sacrament of unity. It is for those who accept and believe all that the Catholic Church believes and teaches.

Anonymous said...

Pinvan, as usual, you are over the top. A BTW to one of the other "anonymouses," the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and most likely other orthodox Lutheran churches also dictate "closed communion."

Anonymous said...

I was all set up to give a response, until I saw that the sender was 15 years old, which puts a different spin on things in pastoral terms.

I think it interesting that the erroneously-named Reformation is so long ago now that many, many Christians--including Catholics--have grown murky on the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism. I think it unsettling that the Church has failed to continue to make those differences clear. Part of the problem with the Novus Ordo is that it appears so similar, in may ways, to many Protestant communion services that Protestants don't see a lot of difference, thus blurring the distinction in their (and perhaps Catholic) eyes and adding to the confusion. Another part is that charitably-worded but clear notices of the sort that Fr. McD mentions are not more ubiquitous.

let us remember, as Fr. McD has often said, that if the Protestants really want to be Protestants, then we, like God, must honor that choice by acknowledging that they are not--nor do they wish to be--in communion with Catholics. Surely they, many of whom see Communion as symbolic, should be able to grasp the ramifications of receiving Communion while not _being_ in communion--and that denying them Communion is publicly honoring their decision rather than publicly slighting them.

With a 15 year old, the problem is that we're seeing more clearly a manifestation of the wounds inflicted on Christ by our disunity because, presumably, he hasn't been taught the theological differences yet. he is experiencing the realization and perhaps pain of those wounds for the first time. And if he is correct that he was singled out, and that a general announcement wasn't made, then the bishop handled things badly. I get the feeling that in situations like this the celebrant avoids a general announcement out of a) a misplaced desire to be ecumenical, b) a hope to avoid unpleasantness, or c) some combination of the two. In this case we see the painful results of the policy--it not only hurt someone anyway but added to the hurt by making it seem targeted.

Surely it would be better for us not to pussyfoot around at Mass but to come right out, at each and every Mass, very matter-of-factly, and make a charitably worded announcement that non-Catholics, as well as Catholics who are not in a state of grace, may not receive Communion. In my view, absent such an announcement, a protestant who receives Communion in ignorant good faith hasn't profaned the body of Christ, but the celebrant who either knowingly or negligently facilitates that partaking has certainly does so and shall have much to answer for.

pinanv525 said...

Anon, what is "over the top" about it?

Duns Blotus said...

Bad choice of words on my part. I specifically meant that there was a huge difference between the Catholic Church as the One, True Church and the various denominations that fall under the canopy of "Protestant".

romishgraffiti said...

Dare I pull the pin on the EF vs. OF grenade? That is to say, I doubt you would hear this complaint with guests that come to the EF, and this is due to the usual issues of Mass as sacrifice vs. sharing of a meal, the horizontal vs. vertical, the sense of the unworthy given a great grace vs. a sense of entitlement.

R. E. Ality said...

Why the big fuss about Protestants receiving Holy Communion when only a very few Bishops publicly state that they would refuse Holy Communion to the heretical Catholic politicians? Seems somewhat hypocritical. A publicly heretical Catholic calling himself Catholic makes him no less a Protestant than an honest-to-goodness Protestant.

Anonymous said...

Fr are we previe to what you wrote back to this young man? I have to remember he is an adolescent, I will try not to be harsh. He wanted you, the reader to feel empathy for his plight; him being singled out to not receive Communion when his family did. "I was denied bread and shown that I was not equal as the Bishop had said." As a Catholic I know it is no longer 'bread' it's the Body of Christ, when we consume the Eucharist. Maybe this should be explained to him. He missed this altogether. He feels because of his Confirmation in his Church he had the right to Communion in a Catholic Church. He needs to understand why we partake in Communion. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. (John 6:56)
This child of God because of his lack of knowledge about the Eucharist and not being Catholic voiced his pain (maybe carrying the cross) being denied Communion. His love for our Lord is apparent in his letter, but not being Catholic he mis-understands what the Eucharist is.

I am wondering?? Is it proper for me as a Catholic to go to a Protestant Church and receive Communion there? Would it be considered a sin if I did?

PTL!

romishgraffiti said...

Why the big fuss about Protestants receiving Holy Communion when only a very few Bishops publicly state that they would refuse Holy Communion to the heretical Catholic politicians? Seems somewhat hypocritical. A publicly heretical Catholic calling himself Catholic makes him no less a Protestant than an honest-to-goodness Protestant.

Your point is well taken, but it is so darn hard to get Catholic to dig their heels in on anything that we ought to encourage it wherever it is found, even if it is only at the local level and only crops up around first-communion time.

Gerbert said...

I have experienced this first hand, several years ago I attended a bible study by a group that considered themselves "non denominational" (would not that mean they are Catholic??). I was invited by a friend to participate, being the only Catholic I was on edge, but alert and ready to defend my faith if necessary. One day after our study and we where just chatting this question was posed to me by one of the members and all of a sudden the rest chimed in, I was being hit from all sides. So I decided to approach this by reciting a verse from St. Paul, "anyone who partakes in the body and blood of our Lord unworthily commits the most grievous of sins. This allowed me to share with my Protestant brothers our belief of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I referenced John chapter 6, showing them how it is impossible to sin against a symbol, and it is only possible to sin against a reality the reality of Christ. Then explaining how hypocritical it would be for the Church to allow those who do not profess belief in the real presence, to receive communion, let alone how irresponsible it would be to knowingly bring a person to commit a grievous sin. Of course this lead into another issue confession. While they did not agree several of them later said that while they did not agree with the understanding of the Eucharist, they did understand why the Catholic church would not allow non Catholics to receive communion. I also told them that when I was invited to attend there church I did not participate in communion with them, because that would be a denial of my faith, and Jesus Christ as I see it.
My point is this 15 year old young man has no idea of what the Catholic Church believes, or teaches, if he has any understanding it has been given with the typical protestant slant. While all are equal in the eyes of God, I cannot see how protestant churches can be considered equal with the Catholic Church, if one contains only part of the truth, and the other the fullness of truth, an inequality already exist.

Frajm said...

I have been e-mailing the young man back and forth asking him not to approach all of this from a Methodist perspective, but to look at the Catholic understanding of Holy Communion as signifying that one is in "full Communion" with the Catholic Church, which implies an acceptance not only of Jesus Christ (belief in Him) but also what He teaches as understood by the Catholic Church. It also means acceptance of the entire Church and he leaders, the pope and the bishops in union with him and their teaching authority as the "living" magisterium.
He insists still that he has a "right" to receive Holy Communion becasue he is a good Christian.
Several years back, a large Methodist Church in Augusta which televises its Sunday services, I actually heard the associate minister on the First Sunday of the month which is the only time they "have Holy Communion" invite everyone to receive, even if you are not baptized!
That's their perspective I suspect and the Catholic Church can't change their teachings on that. But so often Protestants who are practicing their faith who attend the Catholic Church don't think there is any difference between them and us. In the core essential of the faith, usually there are not, except in our sacramental understanding of all 7 sacraments, especially Holy Orders and Holy Eucharist. Because of a "false" ecumenism that glosses over differences and only emphasizes what we have in common, so many Catholic and Protestants fall into the trap that this 15 year has.

Robert Kumpel said...

Anonymous:

Yes, if you are a Catholic, it would be a serious sin to receive "communion" in a Protestant church (provided you knew--and now you do).

1) They do not have valid orders to consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ

2) Many of them do not believe that ANY church's communion (Including ours) is the Body of Christ, but simply a "memorial" or "symbol".

3) As Gerbert says, it would be a denial of your faith.

If you insist on attending a Protestant service (not a particularly good idea) or if you are invited to a Protestant wedding, and they do their "communion" thing, expect them to invite everyone. That doesn't mean you have to take the bait. If anything, it's a sign of how meaningless their "communion" truly is.

Anonymous said...

Under what circumstances may a non-Catholic Christian receive Holy Communion at Holy Mass. Are there times outside of Holy Mass when a non-Catholic Christian could receive Holy Communion?

Frajm said...

The only time a non-Catholic can receive Holy Communion under current Church discipline is:
1. They can't get to their own Church or minister.
2. They believe what we believe about Holy Communion that it is the Body and Blood of Christ, not a symbol (I don't think we have to demand they understand transubstantiation though,
3. The bishop approves it--so it has to be requested in advance. That means the bishop has evaluated the true need and validity for receiving it.

At Pope John Paul II's funeral then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict gave Holy Communion to a Protestant Monk of Taise and did so deliberately.

Anonymous said...

Thank for the info. I have a close friend who is Pastor of a non-denominational church and they do communion every week, but I didn't receive when I visited his service some time back.

PTL!

Frajm said...

Catholics should never receive Holy Communion from a Protestant minister. In an emergency a Catholic could receive Holy Communion from Churches separated from the pope, but who still have valid sacraments, in particular Holy Orders. This would include all of the Orthodox Churches and a few others, such as SSPV.

Anonymous said...

I would invite him back for a long talk and an explanation on why he was not able to receive.

Gerbert said...

In my talks with protestants who will genuinely open up, I have found that it is almost as if they seek an acknowledgement from the authority of the Catholic Church. I have gotten the strong sense that they feel as if they need the approval of the Church to legitimize themselves. I have experienced this on several occasions. While they stand in protest of the Church, they seem to strongly desire the approval of the same Church they have rejected. It is like a bad child, they disobey the parental authority, but yet seek approval of same authority. So is the protestant anger of the Church more about what we believe or that we don't accept and recognize them to have equal authority. I believe they have a strong desire for us to acknowledge there communities as being in full communion with the One Holy Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It is as if they know that the truth is there, but are afraid to come to it. Just an observation. No one ever got upset with me when I did not receive communion in a protestant church, no one ever asked me why I did not.

Anonymous said...

I think you should kindly explain as you have but he is young and may not get it. I have a similar problem with non-practicing family members who should know better and won't listen to me so I request funeral Masses without distribution of Communion or just have a Rite of Christian burial just for this reason.

Anonymous said...

I'm praying for our new bishop.
I hope the boy and the family are invited to learn more at the no-obligation RCIA classes. Perhaps the Youth Minister could communicate with him.
The Catholic family that invited them to the Confirmation should have prepared them in advance! aargh!
We need to be reminded of our duty to inform the guests of the 'house rules'...IN ADVANCE.

Only a month and a half ago I was seated next to a non-Catholic woman at the Vigil Mass; the usher introduced us to each other, then asked us to carry up the Gifts...she felt so honored. I don't know if it was OK for her to do that, but in the heat of the moment I could think of ever learning about someone not being allowed to carry up the unconsecrated Gifts.

So I showed her quickly and briefly how to follow along in the missalette, and how to receive a Blessing at communion time. She asked if she witnessed confessions before Mass and if you have to go to confession before receiving communion. I told her yes, but forseeing her possibly showing up in the confession line the next week, I told her that only Catholics can go to confession...then did a 'quick save' by saying that the priest only have authority to hear confessions from a Catholic...whew, prevented an interested Protestant from being offended. Sorry if I 'threw the priests under the bus', but she was grateful and careful to do things properly just as I instructed her.
Let folks know the 'house rules' in advance and their desire to exhibit proper etiquette will take over.

I'll pray for our new bishop..whomever he may be.
~SqueekerLamb

Anonymous said...

1. Age 15 is not too young for an educated dialog - this person is in HS & has clearly formed opinions. He has reached an age of accountability in his church & has been confirmed in the Methodist tradition. While clearly uninformed re Catholic doctrine, he is not unaware of the conditions under which he is used to receiving the protestant version of communion.

2. A big mistake was made in not explaining the Catholic communion rite re non-Catholics prior to Mass. This happens ALL THE TIME in MANY Catholic churches. Many resulting problems could be avoided if Priests & Bishops would simply take a few moments prior to Mass on big event days to EDUCATE those in attendance, many of whom are not Catholic or are lapsed Catholics who could use the 'reminder' that it is NOT OK to receive Jesus while shacking up.

3. MANY Protestant denominations have 'closed communion', not just higher 'liturgical' Protestant churches, so a closed communion is not unheard of, just annoying to protestants who really believe that they are saved & we Catholics are NOT.

4. Most Protestant denominations view communion strictly as a 'memorial reenactment' of the Last Supper - this is why it is bread & grape juice (not wine which is the devil's drink)& also why communion services are so infrequent, typically once every 2-3 months. These services are usually times of reflection re the passion of Christ & generally have no connection to a liturgical calendar at all except around Easter.

5. Protestants are going to continue to debate Catholics on this issue because - whether they agree or not - the Eucharist IS the central issue of our faith as Catholics! There is a lot more to being Catholic than the Eucharist, but come on! Without the real presence of Christ, why are we bothering to show up week after week???

6. Protestants are NOT generally ecumenical. We CATHOLICS get all wrapped up in our ecumenical blankies, but most Protestants view us a 'convert-able material' & are charging hard to make sure we get saved. Make no doubt about it - it is a major score for most Protestants to bring a Catholic 'home to Jesus'. Rather it is the abysmal lack of formation about what we DO hold true as to our own faith as Catholics that is a big reason why so many Catholics see it as no big deal to pick up their 'church membership' & go to the Protestant church down the street.

When we begin to TEACH & PREACH our faith as Catholics TO Catholics, then perhaps Jesus in the Eucharist will again begin to take precedence over programs, choirs & everything else that Catholics value more when they leave their birthright for a bowl of pottage (or bread crumbs & juice).

- former Protestant & now proud Papist, pgal

+wordphan said...

I really appreciate it when you explain at Masses that have high attendances such as the Great Easter Vigil, our stance on receiving Holy Communion. You are very clear and concise in your choice of words. This young man has a few lessons to learn; respect for the practices of other churches is one of them!

Anonymous said...

+wordphan...how can this young man learn respect for the practices of other churches when other non-Catholic members of his family received Holy Communion wihout question, yet he was singled out and denied it?
It is entirely normal that he would feel slighted. His experience regarding communion in his church it totally different, and then to have mixed messages sent to him at a Catholic Mass! Well, it certainly doesn't make the Catholic Church look very inviting or as something to respect.
Thank God he followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit and emailed Father, thereby allowing Father a chance to explain and hopefully save the situation!

I'm not a gambling person, but I'll bet a roll of hundred-dollar bills that this kind of thing won't happen ever again at St. Joseph parish in Macon Georgia!

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

We live in age where most people acton their feelings and believe there is no such thing as objective truth. Truth is what I believe at the moment and I should be allowed to do whatever I FEEL like doing. This youngster simply illustrated what he's been taught. No one has a right to make a "judgment" and it is a "judgment" to say that non-Catholics may not receive Communion. I think, Father, you need to make a public statement at Communion about what the Church teaches and then say that only properly disposed practicing Catholics may receive and invite all in the congregation to pray for the unity of all Christians. That's what my pastor does at funerals. It's sensitive and clear.

As for the bishop...well, his statements indicate he is a Protestant at heart. No wonder some of the saints said the floor of hell is littered with the skulls (mitres) of bishops! His statements, if accurately reported, were absolutely scandalous.

Andrew B said...

Father,

I believe the boy is justified in what he said. The bottom line is that he was offended because he thought what was happening at St. Joseph's at Mass was essentially the same thing that happens at his Methodist church.

The outward signs might be similar enough today that a 15-yr old cannot recognize a difference. You have already told us what the solution is... I just pray it may one day come to pass...

From your post on the 20th.
"...we need to reform the OF Mass so that it looks and feels more like the EF Mass...

...the Eucharistic prayer, keeping it in Latin...

...all the genuflections, kissing of the altar when turning from it...

...Kneeling for Holy Communion, reception on the tongue...for every Mass..."

If a person comes to Mass with the heart of a child, how should we want them to know the Body Blood Soul & Divinity of the Living God is present? By a big sign or disclaimer? Or by our actions?