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Q: If your family includes both Catholics and non-Catholics, how have you experienced this issue firsthand?

The fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics in my family don't attend Mass regularly, and this problem of receiving the Eucharist is one of the reasons they've dropped out.

Connie Meehleis Anchorage, Alaska

Three of my grandchildren are Catholic and three are not. It is hard to tell them that God and Jesus love them all just the same, but the three who are not Catholic are not welcome at the table of the Lord in my church.

Name withheld West Branch, Mich.

My family is Catholic, and I am a Disciples of Christ minister. My father has never attended a worship at which I preside because he wouldn't be able (according to his Catholic beliefs) to receive Communion.

Stacey Nicholas Canton, Mo.

At a wedding, the non-Catholic side of the family was told not to receive. They were insulted.

Name withheld Willow Grove, Penn.

Catholic Church with me and our kids. He has never questioned why he cannot receive Communion but sits quietly in the pew while the rest of us do.

Name withheld Pasadena, Texas

As for my atheist sister-in-law, what a wonderful symbolic gesture of respect and a step toward faith her participation in the Eucharist would be! If she ever chose to partake, I would "bounce" the bouncers!

Catherine McKenzie Jackson, Wyo.

Q: My most positive experience with intercommunion was ...

I received Communion at the Lutheran funeral of a dear friend. I felt I would have been slighting his memory if I hadn't.

Louise Harris Lodi, Wis.

At a concelebrated wedding with a priest and a Methodist minister, they invited all Christians to the table. It was done without fanfare.

Kim Eidson Escondido, Calif.

Non-Catholic grandparents receiving Communion at a grandchild's First Communion.

Name withheld Rocky Ford, Colo.

At Catholic Mass, receiving the Eucharist should be permitted for ...

When I was teaching in a Catholic school and was a Presbyterian minister's wife, the priest of one parish told me the "table was open." It was wonderful, and the eucharistic experience helped me decide to become a Catholic.

Name withheld Louisville, Ky.

I think it is more respectful to refrain.

Mary Steedle Finleyville, Penn.

I was at a wedding, and after Communion the priest thanked all those who weren't Catholics for not taking Communion.

Michael Bascom Nottingham, N.H.

At an Episcopal liturgy, it was a very moving experience to receive Eucharist consecrated by a woman priest.

Jane Bradley Newark, Del.

Q: My most negative experience with intercommunion was...

Teaching in a Catholic high school where non-Catholic students and faculty were required to attend Mass, but not allowed to receive Communion.

Name withheld St. Paul, Minn.

When my son-in-law (formerly Lutheran) was refused Communion at the Baptism of his baby by a priest who announced to all present, "You cannot receive because you do not accept the Holy See."

Kay Mahoney Tolland, Conn.

Hearing about President Clinton taking Communion in a Catholic Church seemed to make a mockery of our beliefs.

Name withheld California, Md.

Having to explain to RCIA catechumens that they should discontinue receiving the sacrament at Mass with their families.

Name withheld Duluth, Minn.

At a wedding of a Catholic and Lutheran, the Catholics received from a Catholic priest, while the Lutherans received from a Lutheran minister. It was as though we had a choice between a Catholic Jesus and a Lutheran Jesus.

Name withheld South Bend, Ind.

When a non-Catholic demanded to go to Communion. He believed it was his absolute right.

Father Frank J. Baumert Albion, Neb.

When everyone else goes up and you feel left out sitting there all by yourself.

Name withheld Alamosa, Colo.

If Jesus could share Eucharist with a man he knew was going to betray him, why can't we share with people of faith?

Kevin Leo Palatine, Ill.

Who made us the rightful dispensers of God's grace? How arrogant.

Name withheld Newark, Ohio

If people want Christ's Body and Blood, let them become Catholic.

Name withheld Baton Rouge, La.

How can sharing this sacrament with any and all believers be anything other than good? Clearly, the real scandal is the separation that persists among Christians.

Bill Kunkler Madison, Wis.

When in doubt, give them the benefit of the doubt--and let God worry about the details.

Deacon R. Basso Cocoa, Fla.

Do we believe the same things in regard to Eucharist? This is the key for me.

Name withheld Springfield, Mass.

Believing that Christ is really present in the Eucharist is the core of my belief. Why water this down? Why can't non-Catholics respect this instead of being offended?

Peg Borchard Williamsville, N. Y.

Although I cannot claim to read God's mind, it seems to me that Jesus did not practice such exclusivity in his dealings with other people.

Patricia Pruitt Oak Park, Ill.

Jesus said, "Do this in memory of me." He did not say, "Only do this with certain people."

James and Shirley Eason Lubbock, Texas

Our priest has people cross their arms, and he gives them a blessing instead of Communion.

Irene Ettinger Stanberry, Mo.

It's hard to understand why anyone would keep people away from the saving grace of the holy Eucharist, as long as one believes this is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Robert Gasperment Brandon, Fla.

If I am ever in a situation where I am with someone who is refused Communion in a Catholic church, I too will refuse to partake.

Maria Smith Saugerties, N. Y.

Extending a general exemption only to non-Catholic spouses sends a confusing message. It reminds me of foreigners marrying Americans to gain residency in the U.S.

Louise R. Ruma Elgin, Ill.

I believe the sacraments should be respected and not denigrated in any way, but I don't think they should be "restricted" if properly prepared for and understood.

Name withheld Houston, Texas

I would rather there be a case-by-case basis instead of "anything goes."

Phyllis Dunagan Homewood, Ill.

"Communion" implies just that--being in union, which is not the case with non-Catholics. Intercommunion will not eliminate definite theological differences.

Father Frank S. Salmani Warwick, R.I.

How does the sacrament of Penance play into this controversy? What if a person receiving is a sinner?

Name withheld Woodstock, .Ga.

Our Lord did not, after all, "card" the multitude who partook of the loaves and fishes.

Name withheld Shippensburg, Penn.

As a eucharistic minister I have been taught not to deny anyone the Eucharist, no matter what I know about a person. If their conscience is clear, so is mine.

Name withheld Chattanooga, Ind.

AND THE SURVEY SAYS ...

1. At Catholic Mass, receiving the Eucharist should be permitted for ...
45% All baptized Christians
 who believe
 that Christ is really
 present in the
 Eucharist.

16% Generally Catholics
 only, with certain
 limited and approved
 exceptions.

13% All people of
 goodwill.

10% All baptized Christians.

8% Catholics in good
 standing only.

5% Catholics only.

3% Other.


2. Because of their particular situation, non-Catholics who are married to Catholics should be granted a general exemption and permission to receive the Eucharist at Catholic Mass.
agree 54%
disagree 23%
other 23%


3. Allowing a more open Communion with Protestant churches ...
68% Would be helpful in
 moving us toward
 Christian unity.

23% Would be dishonest
 because it implies a
 unity not yet realized.

9% Other.


For a listing of other helpful resources on this issue, visit us at www.uscatholic.org.

4. When Catholics know their church's rules but nevertheless receive Communion in Protestant churches, it's ...
36% A positive step that I
 have practiced myself
 or would be open to
 practicing.

34% For some people, a
 conscientious
 personal decision I
 can support.

14% Wrong, but a
 personal decision I
 can respect.

10% A scandal.

6% Other.


5. To me the greater wrong is ...
63% Offending fellow
 Christians by
 excluding them from
 the table of the Lord.

22% Practicing intercommunion
 in disobedience of
 church laws.

15% Other.


These Feedback results are based on survey responses from 336 U.S. CATHOLIC readers and Web site visitors.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:opinions of Catholics on rules prohibiting non-Catholics from receiving communion
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2000
Words:1346
Previous Article:Let's stop posting bouncers at the table of the Lord.
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