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David wrote:

Hello Father,

I was brought up a Roman Catholic and have received all my sacraments. I was a faithful-attending parishioner until 10 years ago when I switched to a different church and now attend every week.

I consider myself a Christian and attend a Evangelical church where I am very active. I am full of the Holy Spirt and pray and read my Bible every day. I consider myself of pure heart and am committed to believing in Jesus Christ.

I recently attended the Confirmation of a family member and during Holy Communion the priest said, if you are not a Catholic you can't partake in Communion. I went to the altar and crossed my arms to receive a blessing.

  • Could I have received Holy Communion?

I want to be respectful of the Church's doctrine.

David

  { As a fallen away Catholic, could I have received Communion at my family member's Confirmation? }

Paul replied:

Dear David,

We are not priests, but laymen who love the Church and all her sacred teachings.

The priest you speak of was correct, for several reasons. Catholics believe priests have the power from Christ to convert bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, which Christ offered to the Father for our sins at the Last Supper and on the Cross.

In distributing Holy Communion, the priest says, Body of Christ, and the one receiving says Amen. That word, Amen means the one receiving Jesus believes it is truly and substantially Him sacramentally.

If one does not believe this or is not in full communion with the Church, one shouldn't received this intimacy of Communion with Jesus. Also, receiving Communion realizes, not only union with Christ, but also signifies union with each other.

Non-Catholic denominations are not in full union with Catholics, or with Apostolic Succession, hence, receiving together would be a lie.

If you genuinely want to receive Christ in the Eucharist, which objectively is the closest one can be with God this side of Heaven, you should consider going to Confession and recommitting yourself as a believing and practicing Catholic.

Peace,

Paul

Bob replied:

David,

It is fantastic that you have found a deeper and committed relationship with our Lord Jesus, but it is equally tragic that our Catholic Church did not do the job of helping you to find that at home in His Church.

You see, Jesus did start the Church with the Apostles and (Peter, as the chief among them), and that authority has been passed on through all generations. An honest investigation into this assertion will bear out its truthfulness, despite the glowing sins of every age. Jesus is at the heart of this Church and His Sacraments bear that out.

There is no Protestant church that can give you the valid Eucharist — the actual Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus — an actual Covenant in His Flesh for you to consume where you bind yourself to Him. That is the ritual, The Sacrifice, once for all offered for you, the Eternal Passover by which you celebrate the Actual Lamb.

Go back and read John 6 without the Protestant spin. Many stopped following Jesus because they thought him mad — saying they must eat His flesh. He never backed down; he let them go, and then challenged the Twelve Apostles to walk away. (John 6:60-69)

  • Was he merely talking in symbols?

He spoke in symbols everyday and all His Disciples were accustomed to it. This time he threw down a gauntlet that only could be picked up with radical trust and faith that Jesus was somehow above nature, not a raving lunatic, a Charles Manson or worse, but someone who could turn the laws of nature inside out — God. Peter is the one who spoke for the Church — paraphrasing:

We're sticking with you even when we haven't a clue how you are going to do things or what you are asking of us. We trust you.

(John 6:68-69)

That is the Catholic Church: messy, yes, broken, yes, sometimes with deniers at the very top, but inextricably linked to its Capstone and Rock, Jesus, who made His own vicar in this very fleshy Church (Read Matthew 16 for that). It is a visible Church, not simply a collection of believers, but the weeds and the wheat, the good fish and bad, waiting to be sorted.

You will find saints and sinners, some responding to grace, others turning away. You will see it in the Protestant churches as well, but here you will find the fullness of truth, and the very Covenant that Jesus gave His Church.

The claims of the Church of your birth can be defended handily and, if you seek to learn what the Church failed to teach you, you will be richly rewarded. Start with someone like Scott Hahn. Try his story out. Rome Sweet Home, an easy read. He has many other much deeper books but there is nothing quite like a good testimony with evidence to support it.

So, as Paul our colleague said in his response, now is not an appropriate time to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion because you have denied the Church and are ineligible to share full communion with the Church, but it need not stay that way.

Come home and make This Church better with your gifts; there is only one of you and I am certain that you belong here.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Dear David,

In addition to what my colleagues, Paul and Bob have said, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider looking for more active Catholic parishes in your area that are more faithful to the Church; ones with multiple ministries where you can get involved in. Maybe you will come across one with a Catholic Evangelization ministry where you can meet and coordinate with like-minded Catholic Evangelizers.

In my opinion, every Catholic parish should have at least:

  • one ministry dedicated to Catholic Evangelization, and
  • one dedicated to Catholic Apologetics both meeting at least once a month.

I apologize for the poor job the Church has done in teaching you the faith. In my opinion, this is a big problem we have in the Church these days.

Mike

David replied:

Hi, guys —

Thank you for your answers.

I am very happy with the present church I attend. This is the first church my children ask to go to and they are also devoted Christians.

The good news is that we worship the same God. I am happy I did the correct thing by crossing my arms for a blessing.

I respect your beliefs and after your response, I have informed my family.

Blessings,

Dave

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