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Mary Rose wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am a Eucharistic Minister at a hospital. I am not sure if I am able to distribute Holy Communion to a person who says, Yes, they want to receive but seems to be not practicing the faith by saying they don't go to church.

Because it is a hospital and they are sick, we are told not to ask and not to judge, so if they say, Yes, they want to receive, we are told to give them Holy Communion. I am confused.

  • Do you have any recommendations or advice in this situation?

Mary Rose

  { Is it appropriate to distribute Communion to those in the hospital who say they don't go to church? }

Bob replied:

Mary,

I would recommend that you change your strategy. Instead of asking people if they would like to receive Communion, ask if they would like to talk to a priest (i.e., Confession). Have a conversation to find out if they are Catholic, practicing the faith, and then if they ordinarily receive Communion.

It is a grave sin for someone to receive Communion who is not in the state of Grace, which is the de facto situation if they willfully do not practice the faith. Gentleness and respect is an absolute must in any conversation, but questioning can be done without judging, and may be necessary for their souls lest you be complicit in a sacrilege.

You could help prepare them for this moment by explaining the Church’s teaching in case they are only ignorant. The Sacrament of the Sick can likewise be offered which also can act as a gateway to Confession. The most important thing is for someone to be in right standing with God.

In any case, the Eucharist should be only given if a person is in the state of Grace; if you are instructed otherwise, that is incorrect.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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