Etiquette

OT question about Catholic communion

I always see people say when asking about Catholic weddings that you can't take communion at the wedding (or in general at a regular service) if you are not in good standing. 

How do they enforce this? What if I go up and ask for it anyway (either at a wedding or a at a regular service)? If they don't recognize me as one of their members in good standing (maybe I'm on vacation or I'm a wedding guest from another church) do they decline me?

It seems like a very strict thing in the Catholic church, yet I don't see how that could possibly be enforced. 

I'm a Christian and go to a non-denominational Bible church that would probably fall closest in line with a somewhat conservative Baptist church. We include a note in the program on communion Sundays that says something along the lines of "we ask only that you be a member of the family of Christ to partake."  But we don't and can't enforce that. We have servers who pass it to the people on the ends of the rows and it goes along like that, so no one takes it from a priest/pastor. I'm sure there's been plenty of people who've taken it to not look like an odd one out. 

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Re: OT question about Catholic communion

  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
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    Whoops! I thought I was on Chit Chat. Feel free to move, mods. 

  • Catholic here to weigh in. From what I've gathered from your post, it seems that you are not a member of the Catholic church? In order to receive the Eucharist, you have to have made your First Communion. You would most likely be welcomed to receive a blessing from the parish priest. In this case, you would follow the others as for communion and instead of holding your hands out, you would bow your head a bit and the priest would bless you. No one is going to judge you for not receiving communion in fact they might be impressed that you cared enough to find out about the rules of the church.
    InLoveInQueensshort+sassyMesmrEwe
  • They generally won't stop you.   The only times I've ever seen the topic arise about a priest or other clergy (Bishop or Cardinal) refusing someone Communion publicly it was to say that Catholic elected officials with platforms that are outside church teaching would be refused.    Think Nancy Pelosi when in town for the 2012 Democratic Convention.    Even then, most are still given the host.    
    OliveOilsMomscrunchythief
  • No, you won't be refused. It's an honor system. Unless you're a prominent democrat abs your bishop feels like playing politics. 
    redoryxSP29
  • I was raised Lutheran (atheist now) but my dad was raised Catholic and I have lots of Catholic cousins so I have attended my fair share of weddings with communion and it's all honor system. 

    But remember, the Catholic understanding of what is happening during the Eucharist is very different than Protestant denominations. It's not just bread and wine to them, they believe it's literally the body and blood of Christ so taking it without believing that is going up their in bad faith (pun intended). 
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    short+sassy
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    Catholic here as well.  There are two times I have ever heard of this being "enforced", the first as mentioned above is for prominent political figures that vote in favor of things that go against Church teachings.  

    The other time was only a few years ago, a lesbian was denied Communion during her mother's funeral service.  I don't recall if she was told just before the service or in the moment, but the priests' reasons were because she was a married lesbian and not living a "Catholic Lifestyle".  It was a sad situation and I felt terrible for the woman when I read the article.  First her mother died and the funeral is to try and bring peace and understanding to the mourners about the passing.  And then the priest at the service pushed her away and brought her more grief during a very difficult time.

    And just like above, there are times when the priest won't call it out.  My friends were married in a Protestant ceremony, but the H is Catholic.  So that puts him out of good standing.  When his mother died, he still went up and received Communion and even thought the priest knew the deal (they were hoping for a blessing by him at their wedding - but it doesn't work like that for Catholics) he was still presented with Communion during the service.
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
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    That helps clear it up.  Thank you!

    For the record, I have never been in a Catholic church (wedding or otherwise) and if I ever am invited to a wedding or have a reason to attend a Catholic church, I certainly wouldn't essentially lie to receive communion.

    @knottienumbers, no, I am not Catholic. I understand how Catholic communion, first communion, etc. works. And I certainly don't judge people in my own church who don't take communion. 

    @redoryx and @holyguacomole79, yes, it is different.  I do not believe in transubstantiation.
    It is interesting though that Catholic criteria and protestant criteria for taking communion is the same in that you shouldn't have unforgiven sin in your life when taking it. Many people take the time while communion is being served to sit quietly in their pew, pray and make sure they are right with God.

    OurWildKingdomholyguacamole79monkeysipscrunchythief
  • I know a Lutheran church where the priest skipped anyone he didn't know. Someone went up for Communion and he just skipped him - no blessing, nothing. At that church, the priest required a personal introduction before the service with the information that the newcomer was baptized and in good standing. However, that information wasn't announced or printed anywhere or online, so it resulted in visitors being skipped. It was awkward.
    "Marriage is so disruptive to one's social circle." - Mr. Woodhouse
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    That helps clear it up.  Thank you!

    For the record, I have never been in a Catholic church (wedding or otherwise) and if I ever am invited to a wedding or have a reason to attend a Catholic church, I certainly wouldn't essentially lie to receive communion.

    @knottienumbers, no, I am not Catholic. I understand how Catholic communion, first communion, etc. works. And I certainly don't judge people in my own church who don't take communion. 

    @redoryx and @holyguacomole79, yes, it is different.  I do not believe in transubstantiation.
    It is interesting though that Catholic criteria and protestant criteria for taking communion is the same in that you shouldn't have unforgiven sin in your life when taking it. Many people take the time while communion is being served to sit quietly in their pew, pray and make sure they are right with God.
    For Catholics, to regain a state of grace requires the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession).  It goes beyond a prayerful act of contrition and requires an engaged interaction with the priest.

    For the most part, receiving Communion is an act of honesty and faith.  Years ago when I was a child, even if in a state of grace, you had to have abstained from eating from midnight until the time you attended Mass.  Early morning masses were always packed, obviously.  Clearly, that was also an issue of honesty.  Thankfully, that requirement is down to an hour now.
  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited August 2016
    Years ago, I used to take my step-siblings to mass because I could drive them.  I always sat quietly during the communion portion of the service while they lined up to receive the host.  No biggie for me.
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  • JBee85JBee85
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    edited August 2016
    The other time was only a few years ago, a lesbian was denied Communion during her mother's funeral service.  I don't recall if she was told just before the service or in the moment, but the priests' reasons were because she was a married lesbian and not living a "Catholic Lifestyle".  It was a sad situation and I felt terrible for the woman when I read the article.  First her mother died and the funeral is to try and bring peace and understanding to the mourners about the passing.  And then the priest at the service pushed her away and brought her more grief during a very difficult time.
    I was a parishioner at that church a very long time ago and left it for another church. My father almost sent me to their private school until their principal told me dad that they "were better than the archdiocese."

    the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

     I'm not fucking kidding. That congregation is batshit crazy. They are not a good example of a Catholic Church.
  • IrishPirate60IrishPirate60 Clare Island
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    Receiving communion in a Catholic Church also presumes that you are "in communion" with what the Church believes and teaches.

    No one is asked for a Catholic ID card in the communion line. Anyone distributing communion is instructed NOT to ask questions of any individual. The "teachable moment" is outside of the service.
  • I know a Lutheran church where the priest skipped anyone he didn't know. Someone went up for Communion and he just skipped him - no blessing, nothing. At that church, the priest required a personal introduction before the service with the information that the newcomer was baptized and in good standing. However, that information wasn't announced or printed anywhere or online, so it resulted in visitors being skipped. It was awkward.
    That happened in the Lutheran church I attended as a teenager/young adult. I had been confirmed in the church and was home from college on break and the pastor refused communion to me. He was new, but it upset a lot of people in the church (it wasn't just me he skipped, a lot of college students and people he didn't know). 
    MesmrEwe
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
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    I know a Lutheran church where the priest skipped anyone he didn't know. Someone went up for Communion and he just skipped him - no blessing, nothing. At that church, the priest required a personal introduction before the service with the information that the newcomer was baptized and in good standing. However, that information wasn't announced or printed anywhere or online, so it resulted in visitors being skipped. It was awkward.
    Lutheran here. There are a couple of types of Lutheran churches that restrict communion to their members (in the same way Catholic churches do - based on beliefs). Most Lutheran churches do not.

    I have attended several Catholic weddings and services. I would never receive communion knowing that it was against the teachings of the Catholic church. It is a matter of following their rules.
  • I know a Lutheran church where the priest skipped anyone he didn't know. Someone went up for Communion and he just skipped him - no blessing, nothing. At that church, the priest required a personal introduction before the service with the information that the newcomer was baptized and in good standing. However, that information wasn't announced or printed anywhere or online, so it resulted in visitors being skipped. It was awkward.
    Lutheran here. There are a couple of types of Lutheran churches that restrict communion to their members (in the same way Catholic churches do - based on beliefs). Most Lutheran churches do not.

    I have attended several Catholic weddings and services. I would never receive communion knowing that it was against the teachings of the Catholic church. It is a matter of following their rules.


    I was raised in a Lutheran church and communion was given to anyone who believed in God and Jesus Christ, his son.  Though children under the age of about 12, were given a blessing.  This was unstated during typical Sunday services.  But during services, where there might be a lot of parishioners who didn't normally go to our church (ie Easter, Christmas), the pastor would announce anyone who believed (see above) was welcome to receive communion.

    In Catholic services, I believe it is largely an honor thing.  I mean, unless someone doesn't know they shouldn't receive communion, most people wouldn't go up anyway.  For example, I wouldn't mind receiving communion in a Catholic church, but I respect that is not within their beliefs.  So, if I am at a Catholic service/wedding, I just stay in my seat.  I realize I could go up and receive a blessing, but I feel less awkward staying seated.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    ILoveBeachMusic
  • For Catholics, as a lot of people have said, the reason they have rules about who can receive communion is because they believe it is the body and blood of Christ, and as such, only members who have received their First Communion and are otherwise living in accord with the teachings of the Church are able to receive communion. However, like others have said, they don't like ask you or anything before; it's definitely just a matter of personal respect for the religion that if you are not Catholic or are not in good standing, you would not receive communion. Individuals generally must have received the sacrament of First Communion before they can receive the Eucharist. Also...the good standing restriction is probably rarely practiced by Catholics unless they actively denounce the faith. Not being in good standing technically occurs if you don't attend mass regularly or are in a state of mortal sin, which would include premarital sex and living together before marriage. I certainly still receive communion and I know I'm technically disqualified for at least one of those reasons. I still consider myself Catholic though, and otherwise have received all the appropriate sacraments (baptism, first communion, confirmation), and do attend church often, but not every week. 
    If you're not Catholic or didn't ever receive first communion though, you can still go through the receiving line, you would just cross your arms over your chest when it's your turn and the priest will give you a blessing instead of the Eucharist.
    That's how I always saw it done - I grew up in the Church, my family is super involved, and I'm getting married in the Catholic Church next year.  
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    @Elizabeth.niemann  welcome to the board!  I encourage you to change your username for internet safety reasons!
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    For Catholics, as a lot of people have said, the reason they have rules about who can receive communion is because they believe it is the body and blood of Christ, and as such, only members who have received their First Communion and are otherwise living in accord with the teachings of the Church are able to receive communion. However, like others have said, they don't like ask you or anything before; it's definitely just a matter of personal respect for the religion that if you are not Catholic or are not in good standing, you would not receive communion. Individuals generally must have received the sacrament of First Communion before they can receive the Eucharist. Also...the good standing restriction is probably rarely practiced by Catholics unless they actively denounce the faith. Not being in good standing technically occurs if you don't attend mass regularly or are in a state of mortal sin, which would include premarital sex and living together before marriage. I certainly still receive communion and I know I'm technically disqualified for at least one of those reasons. I still consider myself Catholic though, and otherwise have received all the appropriate sacraments (baptism, first communion, confirmation), and do attend church often, but not every week. 
    If you're not Catholic or didn't ever receive first communion though, you can still go through the receiving line, you would just cross your arms over your chest when it's your turn and the priest will give you a blessing instead of the Eucharist.
    That's how I always saw it done - I grew up in the Church, my family is super involved, and I'm getting married in the Catholic Church next year.  
    I couldn't tag you, so please change your username to something other than your real name!

  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    I was raised Catholic, went though all the communion and confirmation, etc. I consider myself atheist. When I'd go to church as an adult (for a funeral or mass dedicated to my grandpa or something), I'd take communion. I knew my grandma would notice if I didn't.

    Sorry, Catholicism. I care more about my grandma's opinion than yours.

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    OurWildKingdomPrettyGirlLostTheDeathLlama
  • I was raised Catholic, went though all the communion and confirmation, etc. I consider myself atheist. When I'd go to church as an adult (for a funeral or mass dedicated to my grandpa or something), I'd take communion. I knew my grandma would notice if I didn't.

    Sorry, Catholicism. I care more about my grandma's opinion than yours.

    So you want to lie to grandma?? 

    I don't get it.

    You can not take communion for as simple a reason as missing missing Mass the week before.   And from the sound of it if you said that as a reason to Grandma it's not really a lie.


  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    monkeysip said:

    I was raised Catholic, went though all the communion and confirmation, etc. I consider myself atheist. When I'd go to church as an adult (for a funeral or mass dedicated to my grandpa or something), I'd take communion. I knew my grandma would notice if I didn't.

    Sorry, Catholicism. I care more about my grandma's opinion than yours.

    It's not about the Church's opinion.  You don't have to care about the Church's opinion.  It's about being authentic with your own beliefs.  If you don't believe in something, why would you pretend to just for your grandma?  Especially when this is considered something sacred?  You're an atheist.  Own it.  
    banana468 said:

    I was raised Catholic, went though all the communion and confirmation, etc. I consider myself atheist. When I'd go to church as an adult (for a funeral or mass dedicated to my grandpa or something), I'd take communion. I knew my grandma would notice if I didn't.

    Sorry, Catholicism. I care more about my grandma's opinion than yours.

    So you want to lie to grandma?? 

    I don't get it.

    You can not take communion for as simple a reason as missing missing Mass the week before.   And from the sound of it if you said that as a reason to Grandma it's not really a lie.


    About religion, I would absolutely lie to my grandma. She was a devout Catholic and a worrier and I love her too much than to intentionally have her awake at night thinking about how I'm going to hell. To me, the act of taking communion while with my grandma outweighed the disrespect of doing so as an atheist. I'll own my atheism to anyone on the planet except her. 

    To to me it's the same as hiding a speeding ticket or bad grade from my mom as a teenager. Or telling my dad I broke up with whatever guy because he lived too far away, not because he'd scared me a few times. I'm fine with it, it wasn't worth their worry. 
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    OurWildKingdomSTARMOON44PrettyGirlLostTheDeathLlama
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana
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    monkeysip said:

    I was raised Catholic, went though all the communion and confirmation, etc. I consider myself atheist. When I'd go to church as an adult (for a funeral or mass dedicated to my grandpa or something), I'd take communion. I knew my grandma would notice if I didn't.

    Sorry, Catholicism. I care more about my grandma's opinion than yours.

    It's not about the Church's opinion.  You don't have to care about the Church's opinion.  It's about being authentic with your own beliefs.  If you don't believe in something, why would you pretend to just for your grandma?  Especially when this is considered something sacred?  You're an atheist.  Own it.  
    Can't she own her atheism by deciding communion is meaningless to her, and having snack mid-church service doesn't compromise her beliefs, which are that there is no God and also Grandmas get what they want because we love them?

    i don't see how this is inauthentic to her own beliefs. Offensive to believers and to the church, clearly. But not necessarily to her. 
    I would think Grandma would find this offensive were she to find out the truth. I am not Catholic and don't take communion when attending a Mass because I respect the believers there. I also find the bolded offensive. 
    MobKazCMGragain
  • I'm a convert.  My Grandma thinks Catholics are some kind of weird cult.  She used to always bad mouth Catholics.

    I would simply avoid the issue for a while, but I finally told her the truth about my conversion to Catholicism.  I could not pretend that I wasn't bothered by her comments.  She was very surprised, but she also loves me and never mentioned it again.  

    It IS inauthentic to practice a religious ritual that is very meaningful to someone else and means nothing to you.  By taking communion, you are telling others that you believe what the Catholic Church teaches.  But you don't.

    To me, it's no different than wearing a T-shirt that says "I love guns" when you're actually anti-gun because your Grandma is an NRA member.  I'm not saying you need to tell Grandma all about your atheist beliefs.  Those beliefs are personal, and you don't owe anyone an explanation.  But putting on a show for Grandma isn't just offensive to other Catholics.  It should be offensive to an atheist as well.

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  • monkeysip said:

    I was raised Catholic, went though all the communion and confirmation, etc. I consider myself atheist. When I'd go to church as an adult (for a funeral or mass dedicated to my grandpa or something), I'd take communion. I knew my grandma would notice if I didn't.

    Sorry, Catholicism. I care more about my grandma's opinion than yours.

    It's not about the Church's opinion.  You don't have to care about the Church's opinion.  It's about being authentic with your own beliefs.  If you don't believe in something, why would you pretend to just for your grandma?  Especially when this is considered something sacred?  You're an atheist.  Own it.  
    Can't she own her atheism by deciding communion is meaningless to her, and having snack mid-church service doesn't compromise her beliefs, which are that there is no God and also Grandmas get what they want because we love them?

    i don't see how this is inauthentic to her own beliefs. Offensive to believers and to the church, clearly. But not necessarily to her. 
    I would think Grandma would find this offensive were she to find out the truth. I am not Catholic and don't take communion when attending a Mass because I respect the believers there. I also find the bolded offensive. 
    Right. Like I said, I can see how it's offensive to believers, but I don't think it is necessarily offensive to her own beliefs. 
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
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    Thanks starmoon, you're saying what I'm thinking only better (I hate how often that happens to me here). 

    I mean, it's inauthentic for me to ask the Walmart cashier how his day is too because I really don't particularly give a shit, but I do it to be a nice guy. 

    Yes I'm sure my grandma would be upset had she learned that I'm not a Catholic. But she died in January so neither of us have to worry about it and I'll never take communion again (unless of course I'm
    born again). 

    I guess I'm more agnostic in that religion and God mean nothing to me. I just don't care. My personal religious beliefs mean the same to me as whether Pluto is a planet or what the guy down the street ate for dinner. Nothing. I'm not this proud confident atheist, so by taking one communion wafer once a decade I don't see it as surpressing or hiding something big about myself. I also wear green every once in a while when i don't like green. I'm not lying to myself about my preference for blue, I just have a green shirt. 

    I didnt mean to make this thread about me and although I do recognize that my participating in Eucharist is offensive, offending Catholics was never my purpose. Other than my sister, no one even knew I wasn't a Catholic in good standing when I did. I understand that doesn't make it less offensive, but I did it (literally less than half dozen times) out of love for my grandma. That's it. 
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    STARMOON44PrettyGirlLost
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