I was deeply offended by a Catholic church

First of all I was raised Catholic, baptized as a baby, attended mass almost every Sunday, learned about who God, Jesus and Mary were from my mom and often talked to God. After I became born again by reading the book of John in college, I started attending a Lutheran church, just because it was within walking distance and I liked it. I didn’t really care much about denominations. I still couldn’t really tell you the differentce between a Methodist and a Baptist.

On Saturday I went to a funeral at a Catholic church of my great aunt who I was very close to. I was on the verge of tears most of the funeral and it was a very nice mass/service. I was very much looking forward to communion for a number of reasons. When the time came, the priest said that anyone who is Catholic may receive communion and everyone else who believes (or something like that) can come up, fold their arms over their chest and receive a blessing. At first I was very angry, then I just started crying uncontrollably. I’ve never been so offended in my life. Ironically, one of the passages read was from John where we are to eat His body and drink His blood and then he mentioned that in the eulogy. I asked my mom what to do and she said just take communion. I was so embarrassed at how hard I was crying. I know part of it was grieving and it was bound to come at some point anyway. I hate crying in front of people, especially when I have to walk in front of them.

I admit that part of the reason I was sad is because I have very fond memories of communion as a child. I was so excited when I finally got to my First Communion and was able to participate. I’ve always loved anything having to do with relationship with God. And this priest is telling me I can’t participate in the very things that were read and talked about even though I myself am a born again Christian.

I felt an arrogant and artificial division cut right through thousands and thousands of people. When I was “in”, I never realized this division. Now that I’m “outside”, I obviously didn’t understand it when a denomination of the Christian religion would try to set itself apart as the denomination or even The Church. Obviously those of us who have major problems with the Catholic denomination feel it has glaringly incorrect “theology” which is man-made, but I’ve always thought of it as Christian.

I’ve never been hurt by the or a church before. I now know how it feels although this was only one-time thing, it wasn’t my church and it’s not anything like many of you have had to go through. I told my mom and three aunts about this after the mass and they said this is how it usually is. At one of my cousin’s weddings, they said nobody outside of the Catholic faith could take communion. I hope the differences in how Catholics view communion aren’t so different that it wasn’t a bad thing for me to participate. But like one of my aunts said, God knows what’s in my heart and that’s what’s important.

I didn’t hold it against the priest. He’s just following protocol. He even sat at our table during the luncheon and I immediately thought of “forgiving anyone who offends you” (Colossians 3:13). Someone must have told him I have a bad back and he got me a much better chair. (Boy did that help!) I thanked him for a very nice service, which it otherwise was, as far as Catholic churches go. In fact, because of the liturgy, it was probably even better than a lot of non-denominational churches.

So that’s my story. I think this is very wrong but I don’t think I can do anything to change the way the Catholic denomination operates or sees itself. I wonder how much this is up to individual congregations or archdiocese or whatever the corporate structure is.

Edit – for any who aren’t regular readers and just so that nobody misunderstands–I’m a mature Christian and don’t let little things like this affect my view of who God is or who His church is. Messed up people, including myself, shouldn’t change our view of the God of the Bible. Scripture is the only way to know God in truth (sola scriptura) and it’s by faith alone (sola fide, which is given to us by God, as Stan mentions below) that we come to God through Christ. The church comes in to help us learn about the Bible, build each other up, pray for each other, etc. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), not imperfect people. If people could only get that straight, which is for another post.

54 Responses to “I was deeply offended by a Catholic church”


  1. 1 Gary Zimmerli

    My heart goes out to you, brother. I doubt that you would have any success changing the RCC. It’s one of the things I like about the UMC, we have an open communion table – whoever will, can come and partake. It’s sad that had to happen to you at a funeral.

  2. 2 Stan McCullars

    Sad.

    Of course, the Catholic Church damns us for holding to sola fide and a few other things so their not wanting a damned person to share in their communion is understandable.

    Sorry about the bad experience. May God richly bless you tomorrow as you worship him in spirit and truth.

  3. 3 Mitch G.

    When does it become okay to forgive those who through their theological shortcomings hurt us (you). I’m also a catholic, one who had a very different experience than you in the church. I no longer attend that church every Sunday, but i have learned to beleive that those that God has not yet given an imagaginng like mine (or yours) of grace can make “room” or an “container” of truth and life of what Gosd hs to offer us as rothers and sister. Certainly there are those of us (or me ) who have been deeply hurt by our church of birth, and have been refused to partake in the the act of grace through communion. But I have leanred that their blindness is not a blindness of heart, rather a darkness of “man” robe in the spirit of “church rightness”. Te church that we have grown up in , has it limits, and whether those limits refuse us the sacaremnt of “God’s table” or “opem communion” is not the point, the point for me is whether I have refused to others the gift of forgiveness and “limited sight”. I do not want to forgive the small church for their hurt to you, but rather, ask that you see pass their vision to one greater and a table open to you of Jesus’ love and grace and hope, so that you can eleomce thier limited theology through a greater sense of love by your heart and spirit. Bless you.

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks guys.

    Mitch, I’m not sure exactly what you’re getting at, but like I mentioned, I did forgive the priest for this. And being a Christian, I don’t let this tarnish my view of God in any way. I also believe it’s possible to be a Catholic and a born again Christian, although they don’t make it easy! I have fond memories of the Catholic church as a young kid. When I was older, I think subconsciously I knew I needed more, and didn’t get it, even though I went to CCD every Wednesday night. Thank you for coming by and commenting.
    Jeff

  5. 5 Teri

    Jeff, Asking non-Catholics not to partake of the Holy Eucharist is not meant to hurt your feelings, but is meant to protect you from committing sacrilege. Wouldn’t you agree that is a serious offense against Our Lord? Please see 1Cor 11:27. You must take some personal responsibility here for separating yourself from your Catholic heritage. Christ is the only true Victim.

  6. 6 Scripture Zealot

    How would I be eating the bread or drinking the cup in an unworthy way? Is the Catholic denomination that far away from Christianity that it would be sacrilege?
    Jeff

  7. 7 Stan McCullars

    s the Catholic denomination that far away from Christianity that it would be sacrilege?

    Yes.

  8. 8 Stan McCullars

    Sorry about the missing “I”.

  9. 9 Timothy

    Jeff,

    My question would be whether or not you believe what Catholics believe about the Eucharist. When you go up to receive, the person distributing communion will say ‘The body/blood of Christ’ which the person receiving replies ‘amen’ or ‘so be it’. Is that what you are assenting to? If not, then why would you receive?

    Here is a link explaining receiving communion from the USCCB:
    http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/current/intercom.shtml

  10. 10 Scripture Zealot

    Well, I have to admit I didn’t find an iPhone and do a bunch of research right before communion. I wanted to take it as I would within my own relationship with God and what I believe Christ did for us. That’s all. I’m not going to look up all of their rules and regulations, but from now on I’m not sure I should participate at all. Which would make me very self conscious because people would think I’m now an unbeliever, which could cause some people to stumble. (He has all of these problems and now he’s left “the faith” because of them, when in fact it’s the opposite.)

    I hate this.
    Jeff

  11. 11 Timothy

    Jeff,

    As one who reads your blog regularly, please don’t take my comments as criticism of your experiences or thoughts on this subject. One of the reasons I provided the link was to show that there are various reasons why a person wouldn’t receive communion, Catholic or non-Catholic. As one who attends Mass on Sundays and weekdays, when possible, there have been a number of times when I have not received communion for various reasons. In a way, these guidelines, which are addressed to Catholics, other Christians, as well as non-Christians, is meant to actually protect a persons reasons for not receiving communion.

  12. 12 Nancy

    The Catholics aren’t the only part of the body of Christ that practice closed communion. My church practices open communion, and I am personally free to receive communion any place it is offered. However, in this case the priest would have been wrong not to caution or prohibit your participation as would the administering official in any other denomination that practices closed communion. 1 Corinthians 8 deals with much the same issue. While your conscience allows it, his did not. In such cases it is advisable to simply forgive and move on. From his viewpoint, he was protecting not denying.

  13. 13 Nancy

    PS. I love what your aunt said! My grandmother used to say the same when I was offended and concerned with what others might think. God always knows our heart and if there is a problem, he knows where we sleep as well…*; )

  14. 14 Ray

    You can’t be in Communion with the Church and with other Communicants unless you believe everything the Church teaches. To take the Body and Blood of the Lord unworthily (in mortal sin without going to confession) is something that St. Paul warns against in 1 Corinthians 10 and 1 Corinthians 11. And the Catholic Church is not a denomination – It is the Church Jesus founded upon Peter in Matthew 16:18. We want you back to receive Jesus every Sunday, for sure, so that you can be like the Blessed Virgin Mary, with Jesus inside of you after Holy Communion…Pax Christi/Ave Maria – Ray

  15. 15 Scripture Zealot

    the Catholic Church is not a denomination – It is the Church Jesus founded upon Peter in Matthew 16:18

    I’m having a rough day. I’ll let others handle this one.
    Jeff

  16. 16 Stan McCullars

    the Catholic Church is not a denomination – It is the Church Jesus founded upon Peter in Matthew 16:18

    Hogwash!

    The so-called Catholic Church is led by a man who has the audacity to be called Holy Father. That, alone, should send up a red flag big enough to be seen by all.

    Beyond that, the so-called Catholic Church teaches the perpetual virginity of Mary and the immaculate conception, both contradicted by Scripture.

    No. The Catholic Church is not the true Church Jesus founded.

  17. 17 Paul Anthony Gupit

    I think we should go by our faith. It is only religions that divide people’s belief, but the point is how we are loyal to our God.

  18. 18 Stan McCullars

    we should go by our faith?

    What nonsense!

    If our “God” is a false god it doesn’t matter how loyal we are to it. It’s still a false god that is no god at all.

  19. 19 Scripture Zealot

    Advertisement.

  20. 20 Peter

    The Catholic Church can’t win for loosing…it was “merely” trying to look out for your soul.

    1 Cor 11:29 “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

  21. 21 Scripture Zealot

    I took communion because I would never do that. But if someone takes communion the wrong way then they have all sorts of other problems too. It’s not just communion. They’re protecting themselves more than anything, which may not necessarily be a bad thing. They wouldn’t want to cause someone to stumble, although I’m not sure how that would apply.
    Jeff

  22. 22 Peter

    If you reject the doctrine Christ established of his body being TRULY present in the consecrated hosts, that would be improper discernment of His Body and Blood in my book…you are in essence rejecting his True body and blood, not to mention a doctrine He established. And to my knowledge, only Catholics and the Orthodox, adhere to this original doctrine.

  23. 23 Peter

    The Church was trying to save you from bringing judgement upon yourself.

  24. 24 Stan McCullars

    The “Church” should worry about bringing judgment upon itself for rejecting the gospel of Christ.

  25. 25 Peter

    That’s silly….the true Church of Christ doesn’t have to worry about that because God promised to lead it in all truth and keep it free from doctrinal error. I would be more worried about your rejection of Christ and His Church.

  26. 26 Stan McCullars

    Clearly the true Church of Christ is not in Rome. Let the Roman “church” be anathema!

  27. 27 Peter

    Perhaps more clearly, it isn’t one that is less than 500 years old, much less one that is less than 50 years old.

  28. 28 Stan McCullars

    It would appear you are in error. When a group of Christians call out Rome for preaching a false gospel it’s not the start of a new church. It is a return to the true church.

  29. 29 Peter

    It would appear you are in error. When a group of protestors (aka Protestants) reject the Church Christ said the Holy Spirit would lead in ALL truth, it is not only the start of a new church, but it’s the start of a false church.

  30. 30 Stan McCullars

    Peter, You have aligned yourself with the synagogue of Satan. Turn to Christ, who alone can forgive sin. Otherwise, like Rome, you will finally be accursed. Come out of the shadows and into the light.

  31. 31 Peter

    Stan, you have aligned yourself with nothing but protestors of God, unfaithful deniers. You sound like the Pharisees in Luke 5:20 who said the same thing to GOD’s face, “who alone but God can forgive sins”. Well, if you truly followed Christian Scripture (much less a zealot for it) you would agree “ANYONE God gives the authority to can forgive sins in His name”. You my friend are one of 30,000 plus protestors, all denying some aspect of God’s truth. Come out of the shadows and into the fullness of light.

  32. 32 Scripture Zealot

    I too believe that God alone forgives sins through Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross.
    Jeff

  33. 33 Peter

    all the while just like the Pharisees, denying the divinity of Christ, and his ability to forgive sins on earth or his ability to assign the ministry of forgiveness of sins.

    You are far from a “scripture zealot” when you are in fact denying part of Scripture.

  34. 34 Stan McCullars

    Sounding like accursed swine Peter. I’ll leave you to Satan.

  35. 35 Scripture Zealot

    Peter I thought I was agreeing with you but I guess I misunderstood.

    I believe in the divinity of Christ. I believe Jesus had the ability to forgive sins while on earth. I believe he is now our High Priest. You can refrain from writing other things about me that aren’t true.
    Jeff

  36. 36 Peter

    I’d appreciate the return favor Jeff (i.e., refraining from writing things about me that aren’t true). It’s amazing how you have to get people’s attention sometimes.

    P.S. Do you believe Jesus HAS (not just had, past tense, as you apparently believe) the ability to grant His authority to bind and loose on earth as it is in heaven, to anyone he chooses?

  37. 37 Scripture Zealot

    Binding and loosing in Matthew 18 was referring to arbitration in the Jewish community.

    I’m not sure where I wrote things about you that aren’t true.
    Jeff

  38. 38 Derek Ashton

    Jeff,

    Thanks for sharing your story. Some of my very dear friends are Catholic, and years ago I had a good experience visiting their church, and I did take communion. No prohibition was made, and my friend was in fact SERVING the cup as a lay priest (or whatever they call it). As an aside: I didn’t realize the lady who was serving the wafer was going to place it in my hand. She lifted it up and said, “The body of Christ,” so I reached up and grabbed it out of her hand. If you could have seen the look on her face! That must have been a serious “no no.”

    Anyway, that was a very good experience, and afterwards I tried VERY HARD to “make friends” with the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, what I discovered was this: my friends and their open minded Church are the exception. The Roman Catholic Church itself does not want to make friends with us Protestants. It wants to exclude us and in some cases it even still wants to call us heretics and persecute us. Its official doctrine is against us, against the Truth of Scripture, and against the beautiful work of the Reformation.

    Your experience just confirms this for me. In your case as in mine, the hostility was clearly on their side and it was very obvious in the way they rejected us.

    I still think there are some true believers in there, just as there can be real pieces of corn floating around in a cesspool. The Lord knows those who are His.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  39. 39 Derek Ashton

    One detail I forgot to mention:

    “I reached up and grabbed it out of her hand, and said thanks.

    It was quite a funny moment!

  40. 40 Peter

    I am saddened and fear for you given the seriousness of what you did according to the very bible you profess to believe in. You would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the bible that uses such strong language than the Holy Word of God does for what you did.

    1 Cor 11:29 “For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

  41. 41 Scripture Zealot

    “Thanks” oh my! I say Amen, but I grew up in the Catholic church. If this one I was at was only as open as Derek’s was, it would have saved a lot of heartache. I do discern the body and DO NOT eat and drink judgment upon myself. They don’t even serve the wine! So if anything I was only eating judgment on myself.

    Peter, you’re just digging yourself deeper in judgment of us when you don’t know how seriously we take communion. The Bible says, Do not judge, you know. (Sarcasm)

    Thanks for commenting Derek.
    Jeff

  42. 42 Peter

    Jeff, I hope you do “discern” the Body and Blood, God will be your and my judge on that. But Derek’s comment of “I grabbed IT out of her hand” hardly seems like discernment of the true Body and Blood found in the consecrated host.

    Also, you should better catechize yourself because the Body AND Blood is present in either the consecrated host or wine.

    Perhaps you missed this passage of Scripture.

    1 Cor 11:27 “Whoever…eats the bread OR drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will guilty of profaning the body AND blood of the Lord.”

  43. 43 Derek Ashton

    I’m glad I’m not part of a church where calling a wafer of bread “it” is considered a mortal offense.

    The Catholic apologist now CONDEMNS OUR LORD for saying, “Take ye, all of IT.”

    Sad.

  44. 44 Derek Ashton

    Correction: “Drink ye, all of it”, referring to the wine in Matt. 26:27. But Peter has just shown us that the bread and wine are considered to be one and the same.

    The Douay-Rheims Version says “Drink ye all of this” but then in verse 29 . . .

    “And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink IT with you new in the kingdom of my Father.”

    If it is the judgment of the Catholic Church that calling the body or blood of Christ “it” is damnable, then she has damned both herself and the Lord.

  45. 45 Peter

    Derek, ironically, I’m overjoyed I’m part of a Church which honors the Body and Blood of Christ as seriously as only the Catholic Church does.

    Imagine this Derek. Let’s say Christ meant what He said and the Catholic Church is right…the consecrated host we Catholic receive at Mass is in fact the TRUE Body and Blood of Christ…God will be your judge if “grabbing” His Body and Blood, all the while denying what it is, is in fact not properly “discerning” the Body and Blood of Christ, which, according to Scripture, which you say you believe in, will bring judgement upon yourself.

  46. 46 THEOparadox

    Peter,

    I have committed far worse sins than inadvertently “grabbing” a consecrated host. Had I lived 2000 years ago in Jerusalem, I would surely have nailed the actual Body of Christ to the tree, or at least stood by mocking and approving as others did. Yet for ALL of my sins – including any that I may have committed in that Catholic church service years ago – there is one infallible remedy: the blood of Christ, shed on the cross for sinners, once for all. He uttered the words, “It is finished,” and it is finished. All of the penalty for all of my sin was paid, there and then, so I have no fear of condemnation. I trust in His grace alone, based on Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice, and the fact that He is risen, and ever lives to intercede for those He has saved.

    God will certainly be the judge of my choices in this life, and He will reward those acts which have pleased Him. But since I have offended Him in more ways than I can count, I cling only to the grace and mercy made known in the cross. Because of this, I am much more terrified of rejecting the finished work of Christ in my heart than of somehow offending God with my hand in the process of celebrating His finished work. My theology of the Eucharist is true and faithful to the Bible as far as I can tell. If I am wrong in this area, as in any area of theology or practice, God will be the judge. However, my hope is in Christ, not in a particular view of the sacraments. And because Christ has already paid all the penalty for my sins – theological and otherwise – I have no fear that He will ever condemn me.

    I pray you may also have this confidence in His finished work on the cross. May God grant you peace.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  47. 47 Peter

    You may have committed as bad or worse sins…the Lord will be the judge of that. But I repeat my challenge (which you’ve conveniently not responded to). Show me a passage in scripture which there is a stronger admonishment for a sin than “…will guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” or “…eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”

    I can hear echos of Derek saying to Jesus, “goly, I’m sure glad Jesus I don’t belong to your Church which brings judgement upon me for something I’ve eaten [substitute grabing].

    Just proving once again, so called “lovers of scripture” (aka scripture zealots) are nothing of the sort. If you can’t keep his word, you are no lover of His.

  48. 48 THEOparadox

    Peter,

    Since I apparently missed your “challenge” the first time around, I’ll be glad to respond now. I don’t usually take statements like, “You would be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the bible that uses such strong language than the Holy Word of God does for what you did” as a challenge, but more as a statement of what you think. You might consider wording your challenges more directly the first time. But since I now know this statement was meant as a challenge, I’ll offer the following passages off the top of my head.

    Heb. 10:29
    Matt. 12:31
    Prov. 16:5
    Matt. 23:33-36

    By the way, what I did was not in any sense a failure to “discern the body.” It was certainly not blasphemy of the Spirit, hypocrisy, or an insult to the Spirit of grace. It was merely a lack of acquaintance with the practices of the RCC, and a natural human response to being offered something of great value.

    I have a challenge for you: Do you have assurance that your sins are forgiven, and that you have been born again from above? What is this assurance based upon?

    By your own judgment, “If you can’t keep his word, you are no lover of His.”

    A further challenge: Do you keep His word? How about these little commands? “Do nothing from selfishness . . .” (Php 2:3), “Be completely humble and gentle . . .” (Eph. 4:2), “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Php 4:4). Are you COMPLETELY humble? Do you do NOTHING from selfishness? Do you rejoice ALWAYS?

    If you can say yes, then I would like to meet you, for you are Jesus Christ Himself! If not, then by your own judgment you are no lover of His. But repentance and faith are available through the finished work of the cross, and you can be cleansed of all your sin.

    Blessings,
    Derek

  49. 49 Stan McCullars

    Peter, with all due respect… quit attacking my brother in Christ you cowardly swine.

  50. 50 Peter

    Stan, with all due respect, quit attacking Christ’s Church. We Christians are bound to defend her and Him you ignorant heretic (isn’t this name calling fun…it gets us far doesn’t it?).

  51. 51 Stan McCullars

    Reveal your identity you cowardly swine.

  52. 52 Peter

    Derek,

    First off, my apologies; I was confusing blogs/threads, thinking I had previously asked people following this blog to show me where in Scripture there is a more direct admonishment than that associated with improperly discerning the real presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, when in fact looking back over my posts here, I did not post that here.

    With that being said, I sincerely appreciate your honest attempt to answer the “challenge” but respectfully disagree that you met it. Anyone who bothers to actually read the scripture quotes you provided, will easily realize the difference “third person” admonishments (speaking in general terms of punishment for third persons who disobey the Word of God), which there are many in Scripture, and God’s warning of how you bring judgement upon yourself for improperly “discerning” something you eat. We’ll just have to agree to disagree, as I imagine we will have to do on much (a sad, very sad state of Christianity).

    As for your questions. I absolutely have assurance my sins are forgiven through the sacrament Jesus left us. And just because I find the Eucharist or confession or any other of His teachings difficult, doesn’t mean I abandon the teaching.

    I also absolutely am assured of my rebirth…the Scriptural, true one found in the bible…baptism, not an altar call.

  53. 53 Scripture Zealot

    Peter, you can be assured myself, Stan and Derek loathe altar calls. Maybe you’re getting blogs mixed up again?
    Jeff Oien

  54. 54 Peter

    Jeff, no, I don’t think so. Probably getting one of the 30,000+ divisions in Protestantism mixed up though. Pardon me not being able to keep them all straight. My apologies if I offended anyone who doesn’t believe in “altar” calls.

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