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Non Catholics Taking First Holy Communion....

(75 Posts)
CooeeeMrShifter Fri 24-Oct-14 00:55:50

Can anyone give me some insight please?

My DD is due to take her First Holy Communion this school year with the school and there are a lot of families that are members of the local Pentecostal Church that are putting their children in to take their FHC within the Catholic Church. In conversations recently, it also seems to be that a number of the non Catholic parents have produced some dodgy looking Catholic Baptismal certificates (friends saw these).
I was wondering: if they are non Catholics, are they actually allowed to take their FHC in a Catholic Church.
Does anyone know?

Thanks in advance.

Fanjango Fri 24-Oct-14 01:02:38

I thought you had to be baptised/christened! Those that are not can be blessed but not take communion.

Redglitter Fri 24-Oct-14 01:28:33

As far as I know not only does the child have to be baptised Catholic so does one of the Godparents. I'm my nieces Godmother but my SIL also asked her sister because I'm not Catholic. When my niece had her first communion I couldn't be her sponsor Godmother as although I'm baptised I'm not Catholic.

Why would non Catholics want a First communion. they're clearly not going to follow up any of the vows/promises or is it just to do the dress and party side of it angry

1944girl Fri 24-Oct-14 01:35:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrancisdeSales Fri 24-Oct-14 08:47:36

I hope firstly we would come from a place of love and respect for other Christians wanting to approach the reality of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. By asking and being prepared for First Holy Communion in the Catholic church they are in fact choosing to become members of the Catholic church. The priest and other catechists should have made that crystal clear. You cannot receive Holy Communion while remaining outside the Catholic church. If the priest investigates the baptism of other Christians and finds them valid then that needs to be accepted. The Pentecostals do not need to have been baptised in the Catholic church, only to have received a valid Christian baptism. All Trinitarian baptisms; done in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are valid in the Catholic church. Baptism only occurs once if it is valid.

If the Pentecostal families are receiving Holy Communion without fully becoming members of the Catholic church that would need to be examined. Cooeee if you have concerns I would discuss them directly with your parish priest.

CooeeeMrShifter Fri 24-Oct-14 09:48:57

Thank you all.

FrancisdeSales I do have concerns, but I also don't particularly want to be the one to be seemingly mean to DD's year peers - you know, the trouble maker hmm. Not sure what to do for the best.

The parents that saw the 'dodgy' Baptismal certificate are Nigerian and devout Catholics. Said they saw a certificate of a child applying/starting in the same year group as their child and saw that this (other) Nigerian family were producing a certificate that was given in Jamaica which seems odd in itself really....or are they and I just reading too far into it? the local Catholic secondary often have children who don't even know what Baptism is!

What on earth do I do??

AMumInScotland Fri 24-Oct-14 13:06:40

I think you have to consider whether it actually harms anyone if someone has bent the rules slightly, before deciding to take any kind of action.

If these children are from families that attend the Pentecostal Church, then they have probably been baptised. That baptism is the same for everyone, whether or not it was in an RC church - as FdeS says, any trinitarian baptism is valid, whichever denomination the clergy person belongs to or which church it is done in.

So - you have some baptised children wanting to take communion with the others in their class, at the same time and in the same service, and presumably with the same preparation.

It may be that they don't actually intend to join the RC church and continue worshipping there. Which may be against the rules of what the RC church is intending when they prepare the children to take their first communion.

But is it harming these children, the church, the rest of the class, if this goes ahead? I don't think so. I'd say it's a generally positive thing if children view themselves as part of the church in its broadest sense, rather than getting hung up on technicalities about exactly how things are meant to be done in any particular denomination.

At worst, there could possibly be children who haven't been baptised. Assuming you think Communion has some actual meaning and effect, either God will bless them for wanting to take it, or ignore them for not being technically correct. They have at the very least learnt a bit about what Communion means during their preparation, which is 'good for them' (assuming you approve of religion of course!)

So - I'd do nothing, and leave them to it.

FrancisdeSales Fri 24-Oct-14 14:12:51

As Catholics we believe we are receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ when we receive Holy Communion. I think we have to be very careful because the parents are committing their children to Catholic beliefs and Catholic faith by having them participate in First Holy Communion. We believe Jesus is really and truly present after Consecration, it is not a symbol. So it is also a matter of being respectful of what the church and Catholics believe and not seeing it as purely a ritual.

Cooeee maybe you could chat again to the friends that have concerns and suggest they talk to the priest. It is sacreligious to take communion under false pretenses and also it is not fair to commit their children to Catholic church practices if the family and child does not actually believe what the church teaches.

Kookydooda Fri 24-Oct-14 14:21:29

Why wouldn't Nigerian families have certificates? What makes a dodgy looking certificate?

CooeeeMrShifter Sat 25-Oct-14 02:54:35

Yes, food for thought. Thanks.

I feel it's not right for children to be taking their first Communion if they have not been baptised (truly, properly baptised).

If a lot of children were not taking part because the parents were being honest about their true religion or the lack of baptism, the school would start to wonder why and knowing the HT and team, they would dig.

Why would Nigerian families have their children baptised in Jamaica? unless they were born there. I see and understand that, but I don't think so.

May have a chat with the priest.

britishbakeoffblues Sat 25-Oct-14 03:37:00

As far as I know (used to attend an elim Pentecostal church) - they do not baptise children until they are old enough to understand what they are doing.
Infant baptism does not take place in elim Pentecostal churches.
Can you please explain why you believe the communion turns into (sorry, not sure of correct term) jesus' body?

headinhands Sat 25-Oct-14 11:25:33

God will......ignore them for not being technically correct


BackOnlyBriefly Sun 26-Oct-14 11:38:05

The precise rules are important. For example. It was explained to me by a Mormon Elder that Jesus doesn't hear prayers that don't end with the right form of words. One word out and and you have to start the prayer again.

SoloSaysHALLOhowsyaWEEN Sun 26-Oct-14 13:48:32

Really?! I thought Jesus heard every prayer, every thought even...maybe that's why my prayers aren't usually answered! hmmwink

sleepyhead Sun 26-Oct-14 14:10:08

Your last post suggests that some parents have been pretending their children are baptised catholics to get them into a Catholic primary, and that not participating in FHC would mean that they might be caught out. Is that the issue here?

AMumInScotland Sun 26-Oct-14 19:56:46

BackOnlyBriefly I don't think that's a common belief amongst Christians - Mormons are a very non-standard denomination. Most Christian denominations teach that God hears all our prayers, however eloquent or otherwise.

Rules are important to religious organisations. From what Jesus taught in the NT I'm pretty sure they are not important to God.

But if you are part of an organisation or making use of their services then it is polite to obey their rules. And if families have been 'jumping the queue' for places at an oversubscribed school by claiming their children are RC then that's unfair on other families.

But surely the school would have asked for baptism certificates when they allocated the places? In which case the school have already seen these 'dodgy looking' certificates and accepted them. So why would they question them this time around? And what do you hope would happen if they do decide there's a problem? If children lose their places at the school, are you happy with the thought that you have caused that, particularly when they are Christian families, not people pretending to have a faith to get a place. How bad do you feel this potential deception is, assuming you are right?

I think you have to weigh up the 'good' you think you are doing by bringing this up, against the potential harm.

sashh Mon 27-Oct-14 08:54:41

Could you contact the pentecostal minister? In a 'I'm interested' sort of way.

CooeeeMrShifter Mon 27-Oct-14 15:50:22

Think I'm just going to brush it aside from my head. I don't think I am up to dobbing anyone in tbh.

Thanks for all the input smile

FrancisdeSales Wed 29-Oct-14 08:34:42

britishbakeoffblues I apologise for my late response to your question, I was travelling with my family for the school holidays.

The key scriptural texts for Catholics regarding Holy Communion is John 6 (the whole chapter) which begins with the miracle of the loaves and fishes when Jesus physically feeds all the thousands of people present. In the next section from verse 22, the discourse in the synagogue of Capernaum, the people ask for a sign like that of the manna in the desert. Jesus then says that "I am the bread of life" (35) "I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world" (51)

"Then the Jews started arguing among themselves, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus replied to them:
In all truth I tell you,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life,
and I shall raise that person up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in that person" (52-56)

"This is what he taught at Capernaum in the synagogue. After hearing it, many of his followers said, 'this is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?" (59-60)

This was considered a very hard teaching and "After this, many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more" (66). So from that time onwards there have been people who cannot accept this teaching of Jesus or want to say that communion is only metaphorical. But notice that Jesus does not correct his disciples or call back those that leave. In fact this is the only place in scripture where we read of disciples leaving him due to his own teaching. As Jesus says "but there are some of you who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the outset who did not believe and who would betray him. He went on, 'This is why I told you that no one could come to me except from the Father" (64-65)

Following this we immediately have Peter's profession of faith (67-69) and the beginning of Judas turning away from Jesus. (70-71)

The ancient churches, the Catholics, Orthodox, Copts etc. all believe in the Real Presence of Christ. When we consider the language used by John, a literal interpretation—however disturbing—becomes even more obvious. In John 6:50-53 we encounter various forms of the Greek verb phago, “eating.” However, after the Jews begin to express incredulity at the idea of eating Christ’s flesh, the language begins to intensify. In verse 54, John begins to use trogo instead of phago. Trogo is a decidedly more graphic term, meaning “to chew on” or to “gnaw on". And it is in these verses that Jesus states clearly that his flesh is real food and drink. This is why Holy Communion is so sacred.

As this thread is dead you may like to start a new thread if you have further questions about Catholic beliefs, or feel free to PM me. In the love of Christ FdS x

Mampire Wed 29-Oct-14 08:37:48

Because of transubstantiation all roman catholics are welcome to take communion in a protestant church but protestants aren't welcome to take communion in a catholic church! lovely right? So christian!

FrancisdeSales Wed 29-Oct-14 08:56:13

As I detailed above that is because we believe completely different things about Communion. Jesus said "repent and believe" he did not say "you do not need to change and you can believe whatever you want". Christianity is the way of love. Love involves sacrifice and responsibilities not doing whatever we want and insisting other people accept it.

This is a sacred act and as scripture says, not to be taken lightly "Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord's death until he comes. Therefore anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily is answerable for the body and blood of the Lord" (Cor. 1 11:26-27)

That is why we are all carefully prepared before we receive our First Holy Communion, whatever our age. If you went into an Orthodox church and said you were Protestant and did not believe in transubstantiation they would not allow you to receive either.

Remember the Protestants rejected Catholic and Orthodox teaching, not the other way around. This was the belief of the church for 1500 years before the reformation.

Mampire Wed 29-Oct-14 10:22:05

Jesus wasn't Roman Catholic! Do you believe that Jesus would turn away protestants! Bizarre!

AMumInScotland Wed 29-Oct-14 10:33:33

I think part of the confusion about the difference between Roman Catholic and protestant belief is that the Anglican church does also consider itself to be catholic (with a small c) and the wording in a lot of places allows for a variety of interpretation.

"May it be to us the body and blood of Christ" (Anglican communion wording) allows you to believe in transubstantiation when you take communion, if that's how you see it. Or in trans-signification if your views are more protestant.

I'm a protestant - grew up in Church of Scotland which definitely doesn't do transubstantiation. And, to me, I don't see how anyone can say it is 'really' the body and blood of Christ when it patently from a scientific point of view isn't.

Plus, I don't see that the scripture actually says that what is in the wafer or the cup is flesh and blood, merely that by taking it, you take Christ's flesh and blood. You are accepting something very important and 'real' by eating bread and drinking wine which you have all agreed has that significance.

I don't think we take it any less seriously than Roman Catholics do, but the interpretation of why it is serious differs.

FrancisdeSales Wed 29-Oct-14 10:34:55

My point is that we believe Jesus taught as recorded in scripture that Holy Communion is his real body and blood. Some of his disciples couldn't accept this and left him. He let them leave. He did not change his teaching. Protestants decided to also reject this teaching. If you are a Protestant why do you want to receive in a Catholic church? I am assuming you reject what is taught by the Catholic church. We believe as we always have and we believe this teaching is direct from Our Lord.

FrancisdeSales Wed 29-Oct-14 10:37:05

My answer was to Manpire.

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